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