Clause 81 - Restriction on use and destruction of fingerprints and samples

Part of Criminal Justice and Police Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 8th March 2001.

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Photo of Charles Clarke Charles Clarke Minister of State, Home Office 4:00 pm, 8th March 2001

I understand the hon. Gentleman's point, but it is important not to overstate it. My hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, North (Dr. Gibson)—a bio-technologists who chairs the all-party group on science and technology—recently asked some parliamentary questions on the issue, which I answered as fully as I could. Information is available on international standards for the accuracy of the DNA technique. The weight of the hon. Gentleman's point, which I accept, depends on the scale and nature of the probability of mistakes being made. The chances of such mistakes are remote—the hon. Member for Surrey Heath referred to a one in 70 million chance—and it is important to put the philosophical point, which has weight, within the scientific context of the very small risk.