HC Deb 01 March 2001 vol 363 cc746-7W
Dr. Gibson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what requirements he sets for the accurate monitoring of DNA testing. [151681]

Mr. Charles Clarke

The DNA database is a national database which currently holds details of individuals suspected, cautioned and convicted of a recordable offence, together with their DNA profiles.

The Home Office Circular 16/95: National DNA Database sets out the general conditions relating to the establishment and use of the National DNA database.

DNA profiling technologies have developed rapidly over the last 10 years. Significant advances have been made resulting in improved sensitivity and these enable DNA to be extracted from increasingly smaller crime scene stains. The current technique, FSS SGMplusTM, analyses 11 areas on the DNA molecule. FSS SGMplusTM has been in use since September 1999 and has a discriminatory power of 1 in a billion. This has a considerable advantage over the SGM technique previously used, which had a discriminatory power of 1 in 50 million.

The reliability of DNA evidence is assured through the internal quality assurance measures adopted by the Forensic Science Service and through their external accreditation by the British Standards Institute and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service to the BS EN ISO 9000 and M10 National Standards. This independent accreditation of the DNA process involves regular audit to ensure the standards are maintained.