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More than 3m on DNA 'stealth' database

London Telegraph | January 29, 2007 
John Steele

The Government was accused last night of creating a "surveillance society by stealth" after figures showed that police have put more than 3.3 million people on the national criminal DNA database.

Home Office statistics, reflecting the size of the database on Oct 31 last year and released last week in Parliament, show that 3,327,000 people from a total of 49 million have had their genetic profiles logged by one of the 43 police forces.

This is about 6.7 per cent of the population.

Many have been convicted but tens of thousands, including youngsters, have not.

Those arrested but not proceeded against and people acquitted, are on the database.

Though they do not show whether individuals lived in the area where the force took their DNA sample, the figures compare the numbers on the database in each force with local populations and give a percentage.

The City of London emerges as by far the most likely place to have one's DNA taken, though a return of 200 per cent indicates that most of those supplying samples live outside the Square Mile.

Civil liberties campaigners and many politicians believe the Government is gradually expanding the criminal database as the foundation for a national register of the details of the whole population.

They fear that the information may be misused.

Damian Green, the Tory home affairs spokesman, said: "It is outrageous that so many people are on this database when there is no statutory basis for it.

"The Government is introducing a surveillance society by stealth. We need a proper national and parliamentary debate on this vital issue."

 

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