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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 5:45 pm on 8th March 2010.

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Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Minister of State (Home Office) (Crime and Policing) 5:45 pm, 8th March 2010

The hon. Gentleman is making it up as he goes along. I have told the House that I will respond to his parliamentary question in due course. When I do so, I want to ensure that I check that the information in my answer is sufficient to answer his question. I am telling House today that 79 rape, murder or manslaughter cases in England and Wales were matched to the DNA database, and that 36 were found to have a direct or specific value to those investigations.

Do not just listen to me. The president of ACPO, Sir Hugh Orde, has said that he believes that the database is of value in helping to secure criminal convictions, preventing crime, and in ensuring, as the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham said, that innocent people are acquitted of crimes, as they are on occasion. There is an honest disagreement between the Government, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, which I suspect will be tested in a Division very shortly.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hendon proposes new clause 9, which forwards the underlying principle of independent oversight. As he is aware, we have given a commitment to look at the creation of an independent oversight role on such matters, which we are doing. I cannot accept his proposal today, but we are aware of the need for such oversight. We are considering whether to introduce amendments in due course to meet those obligations.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights is also behind proposed amendments 35 to 42, which would substitute the Government's proposals for a Scottish model. My arguments on that relate to those I made to the hon. Members for Hornchurch and for Eastleigh. We have had to make judgments on these matters, and I believe we have made them in support of crime prevention. I commend the Government amendments, but I ask the hon. Member for Hornchurch to withdraw his proposal, because I believe that it is not in the interests of the prevention of crime. The Conservatives are on the wrong side of the argument, and I hope the House rejects the hon. Gentleman's proposals should he not withdraw them.