UK Police Arresting Suspects to Get DNA in System

Yesterday’s Guardian newspaper reported that UK police officers were routinely arresting suspects just to get their DNA in the UK’s national DNA database. The UK was one of the first countries to engage in comprehensive DNA collection. Many states (including Michigan) have copied many aspects of the UK program.

The article is based on a report by the
UK Human Genetics Commission report titled “Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear?,” says the national DNA database for England and Wales is already the largest in the world, at 5 million profiles and growing, yet has no clear statutory basis or independent oversight. Here is a link to the official summary of the report, here is a link to the full report.

The UK used to keep all DNA indefinitely, including the DNA of the more than one million innocent persons in their data base. (The Home Office says that there is only 980,000 people). Last year, the European Court of Human rights struck down the indefinite retention of this DNA as violative of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights in
S & Marper v. United Kingdom, (Applications nos. 30562/04 and 30566/04) (click here for Wikepedia summary). Thus far the U.K. has been ignoring the ruling.