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Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the advantages and disadvantages of taking mandatory DNA samples from all UK citizens as part of her policy formulation on DNA sampling; and if she will make a statement. (201164)

[holding answer 24 April 2008]: We have no current proposals for the establishment of a universal database for DNA. There are practical and ethical implications of moving to such a position and any proposal to do so would need to be subject to lengthy and detailed public debate.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Forensic Science Service has taken to ensure compliance with the Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods’ standards. (201457)

The Scientific Working Group on DNA Analysis Methods (“SWGDAM”) standards refers to guidelines that were written primarily for assisting North American forensic laboratories in meeting defined quality standards. Forensic Science Service Ltd. (“FSS”) operates to a forensic science quality framework that incorporates independent accreditation of the organisation’s scientific methods, and standards employed for validating techniques, to the international quality standard IS017025, (General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories). The FSS is also registered as compliant with the international quality standard IS09001 (Quality Management Systems). The FSS’ validation standards and the SWGDAM validation guidelines are similar; however as an additional measure since December 2007, the FSS has implemented a process that involves checking against the SWGDAM validation guidelines when implementing new DNA techniques into casework. The FSS has shared its standards for technique validation with the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes, who have adopted them in their own published guidelines for validation, with which the FSS are fully compliant.