Police arresting people "just for the DNA"
2009 11 30

By Peter Griffiths | Reuters.com

Britain has built the world's biggest DNA database without proper political debate and police routinely arrest people just to get their DNA profiles onto the system, the genetics watchdog said in a report on Tuesday.


The Human Genetics Commission, which advises the government on the social, legal and ethical aspects of genetics, called for a review of the database and said new laws must be passed to govern its use.

In a damning report, the commission said "function creep" had transformed the system from a DNA store for offenders into a database of suspects.

More than three-quarters of young black men aged between 18 and 35 are on the system, the report said.

Set up in 1995, the database contains the DNA profiles of five million citizens, eight percent of the population, making it the world's biggest in proportion to population size.

"Parliament has never formally debated the establishment of the National DNA Database and safeguards around it," commission chairman Professor Jonathan Montgomery said in a statement.

"It has developed through amendments to laws designed to regulate the taking of fingerprints and physical evidence before DNA profiling was developed.

"It is not clear how far holding DNA profiles on a central database improves police investigations."

The report quoted an unidentified retired senior police officer as saying that "it is now the norm to arrest offenders for everything" in order to obtain a DNA sample.

'VITAL TOOL'

A Home Office spokesman said the database was a "vital crime-fighting tool" that had linked more than 410,000 crime scenes with a DNA match and a possible lead to an offender between 1998 and March 2009.

"Research shows no clear link between the level of offence for which an individual is arrested and the seriousness of any subsequent offence with which they may be associated," the spokesman said. No one from the Association of Chief Police Officers could immediately be reached for comment.

Opposition politicians and human rights groups said the report provided further evidence that Britain is becoming a "surveillance society," where people's personal details are stored and their movements constantly monitored.

Conservative Home Office spokesman James Brokenshire said Gordon Brown's government had allowed the DNA database to grow "for the sake of it, regardless of guilt or innocence."

"Under Labor's surveillance state, everyone is treated as a potential suspect," he said.

The report recommended that parliament pass new laws that clearly outline the powers of the police and the DNA database.

An independent panel should be set up to review the evidence on who has given DNA samples and why. The type of offences which require suspects to give a sample must also be reviewed.

Police in England and Wales can take and store the DNA of anyone arrested for a recordable offence, a category that includes all but minor crimes.

Article from: Reuters.com



Related Articles
'Big Brother' DNA database plan will place innocent people under suspicion for 12 years
US vastly expands its DNA databases
DNA database 'breach of rights'
DNA database plans for 10-year-olds who 'could become criminals'
All UK 'must be on DNA database'
EU police will access our DNA database
DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated, Scientists Show
DNA Not The Same In Every Cell Of Body
Scientists post DNA details online
Edit your DNA: 'Gene wiki' to debut on Wikipedia
Newborns' DNA targeted for state research, profiling
Feds to collect DNA from every person they arrest
UK Police take student's DNA for £2.40 fare fine
DNA database: which police force takes the most samples?


Latest News from our Front Page

Roswell, UFOs and Project Pandora
2014 07 23
Well, now, this is interesting. In fact, it’s very interesting. Over at the Department of Defense’s website you can find a file that has been declassified via the Freedom of Information Act on the subject of Project Pandora (which, to a significant degree, was focused on Cold War secrets, and how microwaves can affect the mind and body). It’s a fascinating ...
Men of Europe, Put Down the Eckhart Tolle Book and Pick up Your Sword
2014 07 23
Remember who you really are... The New Age Tactical Spiritual Military Industrial Complex supports murder and genocide. What is happening in Gaza today will eventually take place in London, Dublin, New York, Lisbon, Barcelona, Oslo, Glasgow, Melbourne, Stockholm, Auckland and Cape Town and wherever you are reading this article. Notice is being served upon all humanity. Not just the people of ...
Study Challenges Hypothesis that Birds Evolved from Dinosaurs
2014 07 23
The re-examination of Scansoriopteryx – a sparrow-sized, pre-Archaeopteryx, bird-like creature that lived in what is today China during the Jurassic period, about 154 million years ago – challenges the widely accepted hypothesis that birds are derived from land-dwelling dinosaurs that gained the ability to fly. Unearthed in Inner Mongolia in 2002, Scansoriopteryx was previously classified as a theropod dinosaur, from which ...
Israeli Professor: Rape Hamas Militants’ Mothers and Sisters to Deter Terrorist Attacks
2014 07 23
An Israeli academic has claimed that raping wives and mothers of Palestinian Hamas militants is the only thing that could deter further terrorist attacks. The remarks by renowned Middle East scholar Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University were made three weeks ago after the grim discovery of the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, but the recording was published online (in ...
’Mysterious plane’ with no callsign spotted circling London for two hours
2014 07 23
Scotland Yard has declined to comment on reports of a mysterious eavesdropping spyplane circling London. A radar tracking website showed an aircraft orbiting London at 10,000 feet for more than two hours. The plane had no recognisable callsign but was identified as a twin-engine Cessna F406 with the registration G-BVJT. The aircraft has been linked in the past to a shadowy fleet of ...
More News »