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If Scotland can, why not Scotland Yard?

This morning's news coverage on the DNA database has provoked much annoyance within Big Brother Watch.

DNA_testing As reported by several different newspapers, the latest myth about the database concerns the supposed length of time it takes to destroy an innocent person's DNA sample.

To take an example from today's Evening Standard:

Innocent people who want their DNA profile deleted from the national police database may have to wait up to 10 months, it was revealed today.

This builds on certain unhelpful opinion pieces in recent weeks to begin to create an argument against deleting innocent profiles due to the cost and man-hours involved. 

However, contrast this with the practice of Scotland where, as the BBC has reported:

…DNA samples from people arrested but not convicted of any other offences are routinely destroyed in Scotland, a situation which contrasts with other parts of the UK. 

Three questions emerge:

1. If Scotland can routinely delete DNA without taking the best part of a year, why can't England and Wales? (and population size is no defence when it comes to a computer database)

2. Does this signal a change of approach to convincing the public on DNA – as opposed to the 'it helps in crime detection' defence?

3. With the PM set to announce in the Queen's Speech tomorrow that there will be a £200 charge for having one's DNA sample destroyed, is this not just the latest in a series of deliberate attempts to prevent innocent people from owning their DNA data? 

By Dylan Sharpe 

Posted on by Big Brother Watch Posted in DNA database

8 Responses to If Scotland can, why not Scotland Yard?

  1. Anon

    The Met took nearly 5 months to delete mine, claiming procedural delay. Scotland Yard told me there is no statutory maximum period in which they have to delete, so it could in theory be held indefinitely.
    According to my solicitor, deletion is actually a very simple process. So I involved the MPA, after which it was miraculously deleted within days.

  2. Stonyground

    If they are going to charge £200 a pop to have your DNA profile removed from the database we have a system that is open to abuse. Seeing as the police no longer need to provide any grounds to arrest people, what is to stop them arresting people at random citing whatever spurious reason that they just thought up, taking their DNA and then charging them to have it wiped? They are already operating a scam that involves stealing recovered stolen cars and selling them back to their owners.

  3. DNAtheftbythestate

    How long did it take Damian Green to have his DNA, fingerprints, PNC, mug shots destroyed? however long it took him that should be the maximum time limit for the Police to take to destroy your data, this should be made lawfully binding upon the Police to do so, no more ACPO sticking their nose where it don’t belong.
    ACPO should not be making up exceptional removal procedures they are a Ltd company!!
    The word exceptional should not even be part of the removal procedure, it should just be called “nominal records removal application procedure”

  4. anon

    many people are strapped for cash and discretionary/disposable income.
    Even a small fee is too much for low-income earners and the unemployed including pensioners.
    Innocence (or not) should not be a function of income and asset levels.
    There is always some differential, but every scheme which unnecessarily creates a stain to a person’s reputation, and every piece of red tape or fee (stealth tax) and every extra errand or piece of info given (which could create more normal non-criminal discrepancies) widens the gulf between the access to justice and the ability to protect reputation for the well and less well off. Traditionally only the rich or powerful need to continously protect their reputations. Big Brother schemes are also forcing that on everyone else.
    This is cruel and unjust to all, especially to those on lower incomes, those with health time or transportation contraints, like busy parents, pensioers, those in the countryside or those who are working.

  5. Nhoj

    I don’t think that I shall ever venture south of the border again. I thought that it was bad enough in Scotland but it’s a whole new ball game down south. :-(

  6. Shibby

    Quite right, Nhoj: stories from England make Scotland sound like freedom’s capital, which it is quite far from the truth.

  7. Ross J Warren

    England really has been under the cosh. Nu-labour sadly, and their “if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear” approach to legislation. We have been horrible abused in the south. The schools now regularly send threatening letters to parents who dare exercise discretion when keeping a sick child home. Then of course we have the DNA database. I did not notice if this £200.00 charge was in the Q’s speech but the very idea, shows how very sick democracy is in England.
    “Even a small fee is too much for low-income earners and the unemployed including pensioners”
    And the principle is clear to me, if you have done nothing wrong the police have no right to hold on to your DNA. They would not be allowed to keep your coat or the change from your pockets, and they certainly would not be able to charge you £200.00 for the privilege of getting your property back.
    Holding the DNA of innocent people makes a mockery of innocent until proven guilty. In effect every single crime that the data base us used to detect a criminal subjects your DNA to be a “suspect”. Frankly we owe it to ourselves to lobby our next government to end this abuse of due process.
    PS great site…..now in my favorites

  8. prisonbritian

    we must vote out these nu-labour bunch of maggotts at the next general election

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