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National DNA Database

Volume 512: debated on Monday 28 June 2010

12. What progress she has made reviewing the retention on the national DNA database of records of those who have been neither charged nor convicted of a crime. (4230)

The Government are committed to adopting the protections of the Scottish model for retaining the DNA profiles of those who have not been convicted of an offence. We will introduce our detailed proposals shortly.

Is the Minister aware that the previous Government failed to ensure that all prisoners were on the DNA database? Can he reassure the House that steps are being taken to fix that problem?

My hon. Friend makes a very important point. Despite their desire to retain DNA profiles indefinitely, the then Government did not focus on getting those who were convicted, possibly of serious offences, on to the database to ensure that it was effective in fighting crime. That is certainly something that we are looking at very closely in terms of the proposals that we will introduce in the House in due course.

I welcome the hon. Gentleman to his post. Why does he believe that the Scottish police support the current English model, rather than the Scottish model, for DNA retention? Is that because the English model is based on evidence, whereas the Scottish model is not?

The hon. Gentleman makes quite an interesting point. As I understand what he said, he now seems to be arguing for the indefinite retention of DNA, which has been found to be not acceptable and not proportionate. He says in some way that there is no evidence, but I remind him of the comment made in the other place by Lord Bach, who highlighted very clearly the report that Professor Fraser undertook in relation to the Scottish system in which he said that he did not uncover any evidence to suggest that the Scottish approach to retention had caused any detriment to the detection of serious crime in Scotland.