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DNA critics deliver triple blow to database

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have both turned up the pressure over DNA databases, after it was revealed that it solves just one in every 150 crimes.

The database, which holds the genetic profiles of three in every four young black people, was attacked by Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem’s home affairs spokesman on Tuesday.

He called for ministers to “stop dragging their feet” and remove innocent people from the database, as the European Court of Human Rights has ordered the Government to do.

Today, Tory shadow immigration minister Damian Green who said that to have an effective police force all innocent DNA must be deleted.

Trevor Phillips, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said this week that the hugely disproportionate rates of Black people on the database was “”tantamount to criminalising a generation of young black men.”

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4 Responses

  1. Silly.

    The inferences from removing people from the suspect list may well help solve many cases where direct DNA evidence is not available. I dare say you can find many more situation where the DNA database will be useful.

    Will you be releasing all the many people who have by now been caught using DNA which you would deny the police access to? Or just those not guilty of murder and other violent crimes?

    Modern policing, catching more villains.

  2. I think many people are confusing this issue.

    There is a big difference between a) the police taking a DNA test after an arrest and then linking that to as yet unidentified DNA from previous crimes; and b) taking DNA from people who they pulled over or stopped on the off chance the person had committed a crime.

    Further, many of those 1 in 150 are people who are ‘caught’ because DNA was on the system because they have been previously convicted. They are very different people to innocents who the police took DNA from but have never been charged, never mind convicted of any crime.

    This ‘if you ain’t done nothing wrong, what’s the problem?’ line takes liberties (pun intended) with ‘innocent until proven guilty’.

    Modern policing, you’re all guilty! Okay, just the ones we think are villainous.

  3. Hark to one who knows: Lord Toby Harris

    “It would be a delicious irony, although it is no doubt a very remote prospect, that in a few years time Damian Green will be a Home Office Minister (that is the remote bit) and will have to stand up in the House of Commons to defend the failures of the police to catch someone at long last convicted of a series of revolting and violent crimes, who would have been caught much earlier had the DNA taken, when he was arrested (but not charged) some years before for an unrelated issue, been retained.”

    http://www.lordtobyharris.org.uk/damian-green-claims-a-dna-victory-but-the-tories-should-be-careful-what-they-wish-for/

    The issue is catching criminals. I hope than many more white DNA samples are taken as eventually the database covers all Britons and UK visitors.

  4. 1. Why does Harris know? Because he once was head of a scrutiny body for the Met?

    2. This is always the ploy with unjustified and (let us be clear) unlawful policies: the what if?

    3. DNA is not perfect.

    The issue is indeed catching criminals, but we differ on the ways to go about it. Your man Harris seems to be more bothered about the political rather than social impact.

    p.s. The police were happy with the use of Tasers, even though at the time they had not been subject to proper evaluation. This is despite the fact they had caused several deaths in the US, when they were meant to simply stun.

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