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

Part of Criminal Justice and Police Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 8th March 2001.

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Photo of Charles Clarke Charles Clarke Minister of State, Home Office 4:30 pm, 8th March 2001

Well, no, it is not. The Government do not have a secret or not-so-secret agenda on that matter. For what it is worth—it may be worth the hon. Lady's while to read Lord Sharman's Foresight report on the future of crime—identity, how we measure it and, by the way, how we guard against its theft will be a major issue during the next 20 or 30 years. The identity card debate, like the DNA and fingerprint debates, will move higher up the agenda for politicians and society as a whole. I do not have a preconception about where we will end up, although I have no objection to my children's DNA or mine being on a database. However, the Government do not have a secret agenda. We will have more of a national debate as issues arise, when the debate that we are having now will take place sharply. I give the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey an absolute assurance, if that is what he is looking for, that there is no logical step that we are somehow trying to take towards DNA testing at birth.