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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 5:15 pm on 8th March 2010.

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Photo of Tony Baldry Tony Baldry Conservative, Banbury 5:15 pm, 8th March 2010

May I come to that point in a second? I gave way, but I shall just finish my point about the Home Affairs Committee. I suspect that there are few Members of this House, other than those who are taking part in this debate, who will know that the Home Affairs Committee, in a unanimous report, has said-the right hon. Gentleman did not read out his conclusion, but I think that it is important that it is put into Hansard-that:

"Decisions on retention periods must balance public safety against individual privacy. We are not convinced that retaining for six years the DNA profiles of people not convicted of any crime would result in more cases being cleared up-let alone more convictions obtained-than retaining them for three years. We therefore recommend a three year limit, and a draft amendment to the Crime and Security Bill to this effect is in the Annex to this Report."

As everyone in the House would, I hope, agree, this is the sort of issue on which it is very sensible to try to get all-party consensus. It would be stupid to ignore the unanimous report of a Select Committee that is tasked with monitoring and scrutinising the work of the Home Office. It is a pity that, through no fault of the Committee's, only on the last day on which the Bill will be debated in this Chamber do we have the opportunity of reflecting on what it has said. If the Government insist on using their majority to drive through a six-year period, I hope that when the Bill gets to the other place, our colleagues there will reflect on what the Home Affairs Committee has said so that we can try to get some consensus.