[Sir John Butterfill in the Chair] — A Surveillance Society?

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:25 pm on 19th March 2009.

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Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Crime & Security) 4:25 pm, 19th March 2009

I thank my right hon. Friend. Having given a progress report, and if he and his Committee feel it appropriate, I am willing to talk to them.

I shall take a few minutes to put some more formal remarks on record. I shall refer also to one or two other matters that were raised during the debate. No one disputes that taking and using DNA to detect crime and help bring offenders to justice must remain a key tool for the police. The DNA database is crucial for public protection—a point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, South. Between May 2001 and 31 December 2005, almost 200,000 DNA profiles on the national DNA database that would previously have had to be removed—that is, before legislation was passed in 2001—because the person had been acquitted or the charges dropped, resulted in approximately 8,500 profiles from some 6,290 individuals being linked with crime scene profiles. Those involved nearly 14,000 offences, including 114 murders, 55 attempted murders, 116 rapes, 68 sexual offences, 119 aggravated burglaries and 127 cases involving the supply of controlled drugs.

However, we accept that the current policy of retaining DNA of persons arrested but not convicted needs to be changed to comply with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the S and Marper case. We are committed to consulting the public on a proposed new retention policy, to be embedded in legislation. We will include in the consultation paper all the recommendations in the Committee's report.