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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2005, 15:32 GMT
DNA law 'helped to solve cases'
Rules covering the handling of DNA samples changed in 2001
DNA evidence has helped to solve almost 8,000 crimes since a legal change four years ago, according to the government.

The change meant police could keep DNA samples from suspects even if they went on to be acquitted at court - a move criticised by civil liberty groups.

Since 2001, forensic teams have made 7,990 DNA matches against samples which previously would have been destroyed.

Home Office minister Andy Burnham said "DNA detections" had "quadrupled" since the DNA expansion programme.

He told the Commons' all-party science and technology select committee: "There were 8,612 detections in 1999/2000 and that rose to 19,875 in 2004/05, with a further 15,732 crimes detected as a result of further investigations linked to the original case."

He disclosed that matches had been made in 96 murder investigations, 50 attempted murders and 116 rapes.

He added that 162,000 DNA samples had been retained following the change in the law.

Later, he said matches had also been made in 98 aggravated burglaries.

The decision to keep the DNA records of people who had not been convicted of any crime was a controversial step which attracted criticism from civil liberty campaigners.

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