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Dna Blood Tests

Volume 124: debated on Tuesday 8 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many DNA blood test result reports were awaiting decision at his Department on 1 January; how many such reports are currently awaiting decision; how many such reports have been received since 1 September and in how many cases a decision has been taken by his Department in the current year;(2) in how many cases, concerning DNA blood test result reports, a decision has been taken by his Department since 1 September; and in those cases for how long on average they had been in his Department's possession before a decision was reached.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to take decisions on the individual cases included in the pilot DNA study conducted by his Department and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; how many individual cases were included in the study; and when the study and its recommendation will be published.

Decisions are already being taken. The trial was intended to extend to 40 families, but the final figure is likely to be a few less than this. I expect to place a report on the outcome of the trial in the Library in the new year.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff in his Department are concerned with considering DNA blood test results; and what action he is taking to increase the number of such staff; and to raise their level of qualification.

A number of officers in the immigration and nationality department make various administrative checks on reports of the results of DNA tests, produced in support of immigration applications. None, however, are engaged in this work full time. I am satisfied that this work is being dealt with at the right level.In addition, 16 staff are employed in the forensic science service wholly, or mainly, in carrying out scientific tests on evidential material, involving DNA techniques. This is expected to increase to 22 by June 1988. I am satisfied that these officers are suitably qualified for their scientific duties.