Skip to main content

DNA: Databases

Volume 493: debated on Tuesday 2 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the age is of the youngest person (a) whose DNA is retained and (b) whose profile is held on the national DNA database; (266915)

(2) what steps she has taken to ensure that (a) DNA samples of children aged under 10 years have been destroyed and (b) DNA profiles of children aged under 10 years have been removed from the national DNA database.

The Home Secretary announced on 16 December 2008 that the DNA profiles of all children aged under 10 (taken by England and Wales police forces) would be removed from the National DNA Database (NDNAD). The removal of these profiles has now been completed. The youngest person whose DNA profile is held on the NDNAD (and who had their DNA sample taken by a force in England and Wales) is aged 10.

A DNA sample may only be taken from a child under 10 with the consent of a parent or guardian. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, (PACE), as amended, provides that such samples taken voluntarily must be destroyed once they have fulfilled the purpose for which they were taken. The youngest person whose DNA sample has been retained, but not profiled on the NDNAD, is aged under one.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) pursuant to the answer of 4 February 2009, Official Report, column 1236W, on genetics: databases, how many and what proportion of people with profiles on the national DNA database were recorded on the Police National Computer as having a conviction in each of the last 10 years; and if she will make a statement; (271074)

(2) what her most recent estimate is of the number and proportion of people with profiles on the national DNA database who are recorded on the Police National Computer as having a conviction; and if she will make a statement.

The National DNA Database (NDNAD) is designed to match DNA taken from crime scenes with that taken from individuals. It does not hold information on whether those with records on it have convictions, as this is not necessary for this purpose. It is therefore not possible to provide information on the number and proportion of people on the NDNAD who were recorded as having a conviction on the Police National Computer (PNC) in each of the last 10 years. Some data on whether those on the NDNAD have convictions are available from PNC, but not as part of its routine functions and not within the cost limit for parliamentary questions. However, the National Policing Improvement Agency does obtain this information periodically.

The most recent figures available for England and Wales show that at 24 April 2009 there were an estimated 4,587,430 persons on the NDNAD, of whom 79 per cent. (an estimated 3,601,245 persons) had a current conviction, caution, formal warning or reprimand recorded on PNC. The remaining 21 per cent. (an estimated 986,185 persons) includes those people who have been convicted and have had their records deleted, and those against whom proceedings are still ongoing, as well as those who have never been convicted.