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Conservative MP has DNA record removed from national database

24 August 2009
Appeared in BioNews 522

This week Conservative MP Damien Green won his battle with police chiefs when they agreed to remove his record from the national DNA database. Mr Green's DNA was collected after his arrest last November over leaked Home Office documents, but no charges were brought against him.

Mr. Green, the shadow immigration minister expressed his approval at the decision to delete his data but also emphasised that it was a small victory and that all innocent people in the UK should be allowed to have their records removed.

Green stated 'There are hundreds of thousands of other people who were in the same position as me...where they are completely innocent and yet the police are going to hang on forever to all their details.'

There are currently 4.5 million DNA profiles being held on the police's national database. About 850,000 of these profiles are of those who have not been charged or who have been cleared of an offence.

Last year the European human rights judges in Strasbourg ruled that the system of collecting genetic profiles being carried out by the police in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was 'indiscriminate' and needed to be revised. The Home Office has just completed a consultation on the ruling but as of yet there are no clear outlines as to how the system will be changed in England.

Scotland, has already responded to the European ruling and only allows those connected to a violent or sexual offence to have their records kept. Even within these situations the maximum time for holding the data is five years or a maximum extended time of six.

A Home Office spokes person said in regards to database in England 'Our proposals will ensure that the right people are on the database, as well as considering when people should come off it.'

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Alan Johnson: we should be proud of DNA database
The Daily Telegraph |  20 August 2009
Cut the DNA database down to size
The Guardian |  20 August 2009
Police to delete Green's DNA profile from database
The Independent |  20 August 2009
Tory MP claims DNA record victory
BBC News Online |  20 August 2009
Tory MP Damian Green's DNA is wiped from the national database
The Daily Mail |  19 August 2009
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