DNA: Databases

Home Department written question – answered on 25th January 2010.

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Photo of Paul Holmes Paul Holmes Liberal Democrat, Chesterfield

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what proportion of recorded crimes of each type were detected using DNA profiles from the national DNA database in the latest period for which figures are available.

Photo of Alan Campbell Alan Campbell Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Crime Reduction)

holding answer 11 January 2010

The number and proportion of recorded crimes of each type detected in which a DNA match was available in 2008-09 is shown in Table 1. The figures held do not include crimes detected as a result of one-off speculative searches of the NDNAD or from comparing DNA profiles in a forensic laboratory. One-off speculative searches and DNA profile comparisons are used mainly in the investigation of serious crimes such as murder and rape. Therefore the figures provided in Table 1 will under-represent the overall contribution of DNA matches to the detection of serious crimes such as murder and rape.

It is important to note that detections are achieved through integrated criminal investigation, not through DNA alone. The source of the figures provided is the forensic performance data, which are collected from police forces by the Home Office.

Table 1 shows:

the number and types of crimes detected for which a DNA match was available. additional detections, where an offender admits further offences following a detection for which a DNA match was available. the total of these two types of detections (labelled 'DNA-related') as a proportion of recorded crime and as a proportion of sanction detections (the sanction detection rate in 2008-09 for total recorded crime was 28 per cent.).

The table shows that 17 per cent. of all detected domestic burglaries, 20 per cent. of all detected other burglaries (burglaries other than a dwelling e.g. commercial premises, garden sheds, etc.) and 10 per cent. of all detected thefts of vehicle were 'DNA-related'.

It should also be noted that most recorded crimes do not have any forensic opportunities (for example, minor assault, drugs offences, theft, fraud etc.). In 2008-09, only a small proportion of recorded crimes had a crime scene examination (17 per cent.); and only 39,795 crimes yielded DNA crime scene samples of sufficient quantity and quality for profiling and loading to the NDNAD.

The data provided are management information and have not been formally assessed for compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

DNA-related detections 2008-09
Police forensic data-crime categories Detections of crimes in which a DNA match was available ('DNA detections') Additional detections arising from the DNA match Total DNA-related detections ('DNA detections' and additional detections) Recorded crime 2008-09 Total force detections 2008-09 Total DNA-related detections as proportion of recorded crime (percentage) Total DNA-related detections as proportion of total force detections (percentage)
All other recorded crime 1,506 1,616 3,122 1,315,079 368,595 0.2 0.8
Criminal damage 2,886 896 3,782 936,729 131,442 0.4 2.9
Domestic burglary 3,702 4,015 7,717 284,445 46,500 2.7 16.6
Drugs offences 397 179 576 242,907 230,962 0.2 0.2
"Homicide"(1) 70 4 74 11,248 4,583 0.7 1.6
Other burglary 3,830 2,571 6,401 296,952 31,371 2.2 20.4
Other sex offences 106 34 140 38,355 12,760 0.4 1.1
Other violent offences 861 168 1,029 892,745 422,224 0.1 0.2
Rape 168 1 169 13,133 3,411 1.3 5.0
Robbery 603 148 751 80,104 16,816 0.9 4.5
Theft from vehicle 2,036 3,655 5,691 444,647 42,642 1.3 13.3
Theft of vehicle 1,298 1,165 2,463 147,470 24,471 1.7 10.1
Unknown 144 150 294 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Total of 12 crime types 17,607 14,602 32,209 4,703,814 1,335,777 0.68 2.41
(1) The forensic data "homicide" crime category covers the following recorded crime categories:

Murder, Manslaughter, Infanticide-648

Attempted murder-575

Intentional destruction of viable unborn child-8

Threat or conspiracy to murder-9,559

Causing death by aggravated vehicle taking etc.-31

Causing death by dangerous, careless or inconsiderate driving-427

Total 'Homicide' crimes in 2008-09-11,248


1. A 'DNA detection' means that the crime was cleared up and a DNA match was available.

2. 'Additional detections arising from the DNA match' occur when, for example, a suspect, on being presented with DNA evidence linking him to one offence, confesses to further offences. They arise from a crime with a DNA match; and are therefore detections where a DNA match played a part in solving the crime.

3. Total 'DNA-related detections' means 'DNA detections' plus 'additional detections arising from the DNA match'.

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