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No limits on DNA database, says PM

Press Association | October 24 2006

Tony Blair has insisted there should be no limits on the expansion of the national DNA database, saying it was vital for catching serious criminals.

The Prime Minister said the public were behind the controversial project as he urged police to make use of technological advances to solve thousands of "cold cases"

During a tour of the Forensic Science Service Headquarters in central London, he said: "I think the politicians are more resistant (to the database) than the public.

"I think the public think if this is helping us track down murderers, rapists... then go for it."

Mr Blair added: "In this day and age if you've got the technology then it's vital to use that technology to track people down."

Asked by Sky News whether there should be any restrictions on the number of people included in the database, Mr Blair - who has previously provided a sample of his own DNA voluntarily - said: "The number on the database should be the maximum number you can get."

The national DNA database has expanded by around a third to 3.6 million profiles since the Criminal Justice Act 2003, which allowed police to take and keep DNA samples from all people arrested for any imprisonable offence - regardless of whether they are eventually convicted.

Mr Blair said he did not believe there was "any problem" with members of the public providing samples, because if they had committed a serious criminal offence they "should be convicted".

He also stressed that the database sends a "strong signal" to the criminal community that they could be identified and caught from even the smallest trace at a crime scene.

Mr Blair and Home Office Minister Tony McNulty were touring the FSS laboratories to highlight its success in solving around 100 harrowing cases, including rapes and murders dating back as far as 20 years.

 

 

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