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More than a million innocent people now on the National DNA Database

The Sunday Times has a disheartening report, also by David Leppard :

The Sunday Times
December 17, 2006

Reid ‘buries’ news that police hold DNA of 1m innocent people

David Leppard

POLICE are holding the DNA records of more than 1m innocent people — eight times more than ministers have previously admitted.

Official figures slipped out by the Home Office last week show that almost one in three of the 3.4m individuals whose details are kept on the database do not have a criminal record or a police caution. The government has now been accused of trying to bury “the bad news” among last week’s police announcements over the murders of five prostitutes in Ipswich.

Earlier this year, the Home Office reported that the figure was just 139,463. But in a parliamentary answer last week, ministers said that of the 3,457,000 individuals on the database, just 2,317,555 had a criminal conviction or caution recorded on the Police National Computer. That means that 1,139,445 people have their personal details stored without having been found guilty of any crime.

We must admit that we missed the significance of this Parliamentary Written Answer, to the Bob Spink MP (Conservative), which was cunningly grouped with several others about the DNA database, on Monday 11th December 2006.

The new figures were slipped out by John Reid, the home secretary and Joan Ryan, a junior Home Office minister, on Monday as the news agenda was dominated by the hunt for the Ipswich killer.

This weekend opposition MPs and civil liberties groups accused Reid of trying to hide the admission that innocent people are being secretly criminalised by “Big Brother” government.

The Tories have called for a parliamentary vote on whether details of people who were innocent or not charged should be included against their wishes.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said the timing of the Home Office release was unacceptable. “This is a cynical piece of news management, one of the pieces of bad news rushed out last week.”

He said the eightfold increase suggested that the much smaller figures released by ministers in March must have been inaccurate. “This is a matter which ought to be debated in parliament.”


Additional reporting: Anna Mikhailova

More DNA database figures broken down by age and by "ethnic appearance" were also revealed to Bob Spink in this Written Answer on 13th December 2006.

Is it Conservative Party policy, should they come into power, to remove all the DNA records and fingerprints etc. of innocent people from the Police National Computer and the National DNA Database ?


Hah, no chance of the innocent people's DNA being destroyed mate - watch the cops say "without the DNA database [potential] murderers and rapists could go free in future"

Thats the cops point of view I reckon - everyone is a suspect

And another thing; this disgusting statistic will allow some people to say how unfair it all is - their answer will be that we need EVERYONE on the database!

Does this mean the earlier figure is a lie?

How can they get 1,000,000 extra people onto the register in the time available?

It strikes me that one of the answers is a lie.


@ Nick - The DNA profiles are on the National DNA Database, but not necessarily correctly or accurately tagged as to the legal system status of the individual.

Presumably the first set of figures back in March are what is recorded on the National DNA Database itself, and Monday's figures are the truer picture i.e. what is recorded on the Police National Computer,which is what the Criminal Records Bureau checks are made against.

Keeping the two databases synchronised accurately is a huge bureaucratic, and therefore, error prone task.

David Mery, for instance, seems to have his DNA records tagged incorrectly, implying that he has been convicted of something or other, which is not true !

See Innocent in London - 2006-11-22 Wednesday:

The DNA Good Practice Manual also includes the following recommendation:

‘The DNA page may show one of the following markers. These indicate the status of any previous samples taken from the individual.

DC DNA confirmed - on the database and a conviction has been achieved
DP DNA profiled - on the database
DR DNA required - sample to be taken if the individual is in custody
DT DNA taken - but not yet profiled
DF DNA held in force - not submitted to a laboratory for analysis
DS DNA rejected -
DM DNA missing - sample not received
DD DNA destroyed -

[...] It is essential to update the PNC as to the status of each DNA sample. Some of the markers will be entered or changed by the force and others by the NDNAD.’

The information in my PNC record lists in the ‘DNA REPORT SUMMARY’ section: ‘DNA STATUS :CONFIRMED’ which according to the ACPO table above would indicate that ‘a conviction has been achieved’ contradicting reality and the listed details of the non conviction.

Some of the numbers are likely to be innacurate. Numbers have gone down before going up by an eightfold. See the following link for the inconsistent answers to Parliament I could find:

What are the consequences - if any - to mislead Parliament?

br -d

@ David - in the old days, a Minister who had even inadvertently misled Parliament would have felt duty and honour bound to resign from office.

However, under the current NuLabour regime, they will carry on regardless, or they will try shift any blame onto civil servants or third party sub-contractors.

Caroline Flint did resign from the Home Office after having mislead Parliament over the Immigration visas from Romania and Bulgaria scandal.

Charles Clarke resigned after the incompetence of his officials, on his watch as Home Secretary was revealed.

Unless the Opposition and the mainstream media do make an issue of this National DNA Database scandal, then Joan Ryan and John Reid are likely to hang on to office for a bit longer.

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