HC Deb 30 June 2003 vol 408 c10W
Mr. Wray

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what circumstances records of a person's DNA are kept; what plans he has to create a national DNA database; and what security measures he proposes to put in place to ensure that it is not abused. [119571]

Ms Blears

Sections 63 and 63A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984, as amended, provides powers for taking a non-intimate sample without consent from a person in police detention in the following circumstancesfollowing charge with a recordable offence or notification that a suspect will be reported for such an offence; on an Inspector's authority, which can only be given where the officer has reasonable grounds for believing the suspect is involved in a criminal offence and the DNA fingerprints will tend to confirm or disprove his involvement; or following conviction for a recordable offence.

Section 64 of PACE provides that DNA samples and the profiles derived from them may be retained by the police but may only be used for purposes related to the prevention or detection of crime, the investigation of an offence or the conduct of a prosecution.

DNA samples and their profiles may also be retained from persons who have voluntarily given a DNA sample and who have given their written consent to the profile being added to the National DNA Database, for example, persons who have taken part in an intelligence screening exercise where an offender is believed to live in a particular area.

The national DNA database was established in 1995. It is a police intelligence database managed by the Forensic Science Service (FSS) on behalf of the police forces of England and Wales. Scotland has its own DNA database, and DNA profiles from subjects and selected unsolved crimes in Scotland are also added to the National DNA Database. The Police Service of Northern Ireland also has its own DNA Database. The Northern Ireland DNA Database is maintained by Forensic Science Northern Ireland. Occasional checks are made against the National DNA Database on behalf of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and steps are in hand to carry out quality checks on the Northern Ireland data with a view to adding all the profiles from that database to the National DNA Database.

The Chief Scientist of the FSS is the Custodian of the National DNA Database under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Association of Chief Police Officers. Access to the information contained on the database is strictly controlled by the National DNA Database Custodian. Only Custodian staff have direct access and then only to the level required.

There are no Government plans to introduce a database containing the DNA profiles of the entire UK population.

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