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New Clause 1 — Retention, destruction and use of fingerprints and samples

Part of Crime and Security Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:00 pm on 8th March 2010.

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Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 4:00 pm, 8th March 2010

There is a distinction to be drawn between, say, detections and convictions. That is an important distinction to make. Indeed, the National Policing Improvement Agency recognised that in a previous DNA database report:

"It is important to note that the availability of DNA match intelligence may not have been causal in solving the crime as detections are achieved through integrated criminal investigation and not by forensic science alone."

Such cases are often quite complicated, so although a DNA match may have played an important role, that of itself may not be the determining factor. It can only place someone at a particular point at a particular time. The Crown Prosecution Service will look for other corroborative factors in bringing its their prosecution case.

There have been other consequences of the Government's database state policy approach. About a million people on the database have never been convicted, cautioned or even formally warned or reprimanded, as recorded by the police national computer. It is estimated that there are records of approximately 100,000 innocent children on the database. It is the impact that this has on those who feel they have been criminalised that is so damaging. As one person who wrote to my hon. Friend Damian Green put it:

"The charges were dropped five hours later but I was informed that my DNA and fingerprints would remain on their files as though I was a common criminal. As a respected member of the community, holder of the British Empire Medal and a retired Army Officer I shouldn't have to be put through this continual torment."