Genetics: Databases

Home Department written question – answered on 14th January 2009.

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Photo of Christopher Huhne Christopher Huhne Shadow Home Secretary

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department

(1) how many people aged under 16 years have a profile on the National DNA Database; and of these how many have a conviction recorded on the police national computer;

(2) how many people aged under 10 years have a profile on the National DNA Database; and of these how many have a conviction recorded on the police national computer.

Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Home Secretary

At 30 September 2008, there were 136,709 subject profiles on the National DNA Database (NDNAD) from persons currently aged under 16 submitted by police forces in England and Wales. The estimated number of individuals represented on the NDNAD is lower than the number of subject profiles as some profiles are replicates. The subject profile replication rate is currently calculated as 13.3 per cent. The estimated number of individuals aged under 16 is 118,527.

The NDNAD does not hold information on criminal histories such as subsequent charges, cautions or convictions; this information is held on the police national computer (PNC). Information on the number of young persons aged under 16 who have a profile on the NDNAD and who have a conviction is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, some information is available on the number of persons aged under 18 on the NDNAD who have a conviction. This was obtained from the NDNAD and the PNC on 9-10 April 2008. The NDNAD data indicate that, on 10 April 2008, there were 349,934 subject sample profiles relating to persons aged 10 to 17 on it. Taking the replication rate into account, it is estimated that the 349,934 profiles are equivalent to 303,393 persons aged 10 to 17. Data obtained from the PNC on 9-10 April indicate that, of those estimated 303,393 persons, 264,297 (87.1 per cent.) had a conviction, caution, reprimand or had received a final warning and 39,095 (12.8 per cent.) had not been convicted, cautioned, received a final warning/reprimand and had no charge pending against them.

At 30 September 2008, there were 70 subject profiles on the NDNAD from children currently aged under 10 submitted by police forces in England and Wales. The profile replication rate is not likely to apply to children aged under 10 as, in England and Wales, they are below the age of criminal responsibility and they cannot be arrested, prosecuted or convicted. Samples may only be taken from them with the consent of a parent or guardian.

On 16 December 2008 I announced that the Government would take immediate steps to remove the DNA profiles of children aged under 10 from the NDNAD.

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