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Genetics: Databases

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer of 25 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1249-51W, on genetics: databases, how many and what proportion of recorded crimes have been detected using DNA from the national DNA database in each month since April 2008; and if she will make a statement. (251166)

The number and proportion of recorded crimes detected in which a DNA match was available for 2008-09 to date is shown in table 1. Data on the number of crimes detected with a DNA match are collected on a quarterly, rather than a monthly, basis. The figures provided are for quarters 1 and 2 of 2008-09; the quarter 3 figures are not yet available. Table 1 also includes projected figures for the full year 2008-09 which are based on the figures for quarters 1 and 2.

The figures for the number of crimes detected in which a DNA match was available only include crimes detected in which a DNA match was reported by the National DNA Database (NDNAD). They do not include DNA matches which arise through case work in serious crime, which usually involve comparing DNA profiles in a forensic laboratory; these data are not collected centrally. It is also important to note that the detections are achieved through integrated criminal investigation, not through DNA alone.

The presentation of crimes detected with DNA as a proportion of total recorded crime undervalues the relative contribution of DNA to the crime detection rate.

It should be noted that the majority of recorded crimes do not have a crime scene (for example, minor assault, drugs offences, theft, fraud etc.) and do not have a crime scene examination. In 2007-08, just over 854,000 crimes had a crime scene examination (17 per cent. of recorded crimes). In those crimes which have a crime scene examination, some do not yield any forensic material (DNA or fingerprints). In 2007-08, potential DNA material was collected at 102,400 crimes; and of these, 41,800 crimes yielded DNA crime scene samples of sufficient quantity and quality for profiling and loading to the NDNAD. Of the 41,800 crimes in which a crime scene sample profile was loaded, a match was generated in 37,375 crimes (this represents 89 per cent. of crimes where DNA material was loaded to the NDNAD).

The proportion of ‘crimes detected in which a DNA match was available’, of those, ‘crimes where potential DNA material was collected’ is shown in table 2.

Table 1

Detected crimes in which a DNA match was available (‘DNA detections’)

Additional detections arising from the DNA match1

Total detected crimes in which a DNA match was available or played a part

Total recorded crime

Proportion of ‘total crimes detected in which a DNA match was available or played a part’ of total recorded crime (percentage)

Q1 2008-09

4,557

4,369

8,926

1215,600

0.73

Q2 2008-09

4,418

3,799

8,217

1,208,800

0.68

Year to date (first two quarters)

8,975

8,168

17,143

2,424,400

0.71

Projected figure for 2008-092

17,950

16,336

34,286

4,848,800

0.71

1 Additional detections may result from the original crime with the DNA match due to the identification of further offences through forensic linkage or through admission by the offender.

2 The projected figures for 2008-09 are based on the actual figures for quarters 1 and 2 of 2008-09 multiplied by two.

Table 2

Detected crimes in which a DNA match was available (‘DNA detections’)

Additional detections arising from the DNA match1

Total detected crimes in which a DNA match was available or played a part

Crimes where potential DNA material collected

Proportion of ‘crimes detected in which a DNA match was available’ of ‘crimes where potential DNA material collected’ (percentage)

Q1 2008-09

4,557

4,369

8,926

24,103

37.03

Q2 2008-09

4,418

3,799

8,217

25,076

32.77

Year to date (first two quarters)

8,975

8,168

17,143

49,179

34.86

Projected figure for 2008-09

17,950

16,336

34,286

98,358

34.86

1 Additional detections may result from the original crime with the DNA match due to the identification of further offences through forensic linkage or through admission by the offender.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer of 23 January 2008, Official Report, column 2062W, on genetics: database, what research projects utilising data from the national DNA database have been approved since 15 January 2008; and if she will make a statement. (251244)

No research projects using data from the national DNA database have been approved since the previous answer of 23 January 2008, Official Report, column 2062W.