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Genetics: Databases

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) on how many occasions personal information and DNA samples which (a) were planned to be loaded onto and (b) had been loaded onto the national DNA database have been lost; and if she will make a statement; (240305)

(2) what procedures are in place to ensure the security of personal information and DNA samples that (a) are waiting to be processed into a DNA profile and (b) have been loaded onto the national DNA database; and if she will make a statement.

DNA samples taken by police forces are sent to accredited forensic suppliers for processing, to produce a profile for loading on the National DNA Database (NDNAD). On behalf of the NDNAD Strategy Board, the Custodian sets the technical and procedural standards to which the laboratories must adhere and monitors their performance against these standards. These standards are all contained within the Custodian's quality management system and shared with the laboratories. Security measures on the NDNAD itself are also managed by the Custodian.

Direct access to information on the NDNAD is restricted to a limited number of designated personnel under the control of the Custodian, either directly, or under a contract awarded by the Home Office to the Forensic Science Service (FSS) for operation and maintenance of the NDNAD and development of its IT systems. Throughout the lifetime of the contract, the FSS are required to demonstrate compliance with specified security requirements.

Police and law enforcement personnel do not have access to the information on the NDNAD, but receive reports from the Custodian's staff of matches between DNA taken from crime scenes and that taken from individuals.

There has been one incident affecting DNA profiles which were to be loaded onto the NDNAD. This was the recent occasion when a disc containing profiles taken from crime scenes in the Netherlands was mislaid and subsequently recovered, though it never left the secure premises of the Crown Prosecution Service. The disc did not contain any personal information, as the DNA profiles were left by unknown persons at crime scenes in the Netherlands.

There have been no incidents when data loaded onto the NDNAD has been lost.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the increase in the number of profiles on the police DNA database over the last year for which figures exist represents persons who were not found guilty of any offence; and if she will make a statement. (241801)

The National DNA Database (NDNAD) does not contain information about criminal records, as this is not necessary for its function of matching DNA from crime scenes with DNA from individuals. Criminal record information is held on the Police National Computer (PNC). The information sought could be provided only at disproportionate cost.