New report: The DNA Database in 2012

Today Big Brother Watch publishes our report looking at the DNA Database, following the passage of the Protection of Freedoms Act through Parliament.

While the Coalition agreement pledged to introduce the Scottish model, what was passed into law within the Protection of Freedoms Act retains the uncertainty of the previous system, with discretionary powers to retain DNA without judicial oversight where it is deemed to be in the interests of national security or other such criteria as issued by the Home Secretary.

Furthermore, despite more than 900,000 new people being added to the database in the past three years, there remains no timetable for implementing the provisions of the Protection of Freedoms Act and our research suggests that the cost of implementation could be double Home Office estimates. Responding to our Freedom of Information Act request, just three forces able to distinguish records of those never charged from those convicted.

The Protection of Freedoms Act is a welcome step towards restoring long-held civil liberties, but the Coalition has failed to fulfill its pledge to reform the DNA database in line with the Scottish system. It should not be for the police to have the final say if someone’s DNA will be retained and the discretionary powers available to the Home Secretary risk this becoming far too commonplace.

Our research suggests that the overwhelming majority of police forces are unable to separate the records of people never charged from those found guilty in court. It would be unacceptable for reform to be delayed or watered down even further because of poor decisions made when the DNA database was first set up. This should be taken as an opportunity to fundamentally review the entire system before the number of innocent people caught up in it grows even larger.

It is deeply troubling that very soon English and Welsh citizens could find that their details are retained and shared in situations where someone from Scotland or another country would not have to worry about something that happened many years in the past.


  1. skydiver
    7th June 2012

    Big Brother Watch.

    Please stop using the word “force” when referring to what should be the police “service”.

    • Reclaim_your_DNA
      15th July 2012

      That’s exactly my point. The Police are no longer acting as a ‘service’ so the use of ‘Force’ is spot on! Of course even their harshes critics know they are a necessary force in society, but it would be nice if they would respect ordinary citizenz and treat everyone equal under the law. Not treat everyone prejudiced as no different to some of the low life that goes through their revolving doors.

  2. Reclaim_your_DNA
    22nd June 2012

    There can be only one explanation between the discrepancy in the number of DNA profiles erased by the different police forces and that is that some Chief constables have seen the writing on the wall and are staryting to take a moral and liberal stance in applying the so called ‘exceptional procedure’, while other die hards like Chris Simms and Simon Ash have no such scruples and set a bad example by breaking the law ‘just because they can’ and who knows they put profit motives before morals. Lets not forget ACPO is a ‘for profit’ organisation. Who are they to pick and choose which laws and courts should be obeyed and which can be ignored?

  3. ash
    14th August 2012

    God is coming soon.

  4. John Ridley
    8th December 2012

    Surely this is a mute point as it is clearly stated in the Nuffield Council on Bioethics report entitiled “The Forensic Use of Bioinformation” dated September 2007 page 86 paragraph 6.39. That it was not clear what data protection or security measures were in place to ensure staff of the private companies who had access to Police DNA databases could not access identyfying information of the profile data and samples and create opportunity for misuse. So basically the data protection and security of the NDNAD at that time was non existent and who knows what it is like now. You can only imagine how many innocent peoples DNA profiles have been sold on and being used for all sorts of reasons one of which is by private companies employed by Major Insurance companies to identify underlying medical conditions in DNA profiles with the aim of refusing insurance cover to future dependents of the DNA profiled.

  5. Reclaim Your DNA – Big Brother Watch | Online Liberaltarian
    24th February 2013

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