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Dna Database

Volume 403: debated on Tuesday 8 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many DNA profiles are held on the UK national DNA database; and how many DNA samples have been retained. [106874]

The total number of profiles held on the database at 25 March 2003 was 2,094,858. The Forensic Science Service calculate that these profiles relate to an estimated 1,886,000 different individuals.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals have their DNA held on the UK national DNA database broken down by (a) offence with which they have been charged, (b) age, (c) ethnic origin and (d) gender; and what percentage of DNA profiles held on the UK national DNA database relate to individuals who have been convicted of a recordable offence. [106875]

The record on the national DNA database (NDNAD) for an individual contains fields for name, age (at the time the sample was taken), ethnic origin and gender. The NDNAD does not have a reporting mechanism in place for breaking down the numbers on it according to these categories. Specialist software would need to be written to generate this data.

A record on the NDNAD does not include the offence code associated with DNA sampling, nor does it include information as to whether the individual concerned has been convicted.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of serving police officers have voluntarily provided DNA samples to be held on the UK National DNA Database; what personal data is stored with an individual"s DNA profile on the UK National DNA Database; and which other databases may be linked to the UK National DNA Database by the police. [106876]

Regulations have recently been changed so that officers joining the police now can be required to give a DNA sample as a condition of service; for officers who joined before that change, it continues to be a voluntary matter whether they give a sample or not. Samples from police officers are added to the Police Elimination Database (RED), not to the main National DNA Database (NDNAD). As at 28 February 2003, there were 61,800 records retained on the RED from English and Welsh police forces, about 48 per cent. of the number of serving officers. The purpose of the RED is to eliminate DNA which officers may unintentionally deposit at a crime scene that they attend in the course of police duties. As a substantial proportion of officers do not attend crime scenes, they have never been asked to provide a sample. If an officer is suspected of committing a crime, they may be required to give a sample for the National DNA Database in the same circumstances as other members of the public.Records on the NDNAD for an individual contain fields for name, age (at the time the sample was taken), ethnic origin and gender.A permanent link between the Police National Computer and the NDNAD was created in November 2001 to ensure that data regarding the eligibility of individuals for DNA sampling is up-to-date. No other links exist.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what response the Government have made to the Human Genetics Commission's recommendations in their report, Inside Information, of May 2002, that (a) the Government should promote a greater degree of dialogue about the justification for the apparent increase in the range of offences for which DNA samples may be taken, (b) the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers establish an independent body, including lay membership, to oversee the work of the national DNA database custodian and the profile suppliers and (c) consideration be given to the creation of a criminal offence of the non-consensual or deceitful obtaining and analysis of personal genetic information for non-medical purposes. [106913]

The Government response to the main recommendations of the Human Genetics Commission report will be published shortly. This response will address the issues raised by my hon. Friend at points (b) and (c).Under the provisions of section 63 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, the police may take non-intimate DNA samples from all those charged with, informed they will be reported for, or convicted of a recordable offence. The police may also take a non-intimate sample from those suspected of a recordable offence where there are grounds for believing the sample will tend to confirm or disprove the suspect"s involvement. There are no plans to amend the category of offences for which a non-intimate sample may be taken.A recordable offence is one set out in the National Police Records (Recordable Offences) Regulations 2000 (S.I. 2000 No. 1139).