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Last Updated: Monday, 8 September, 2003, 02:08 GMT 03:08 UK
DNA tests sought 'for every Briton'
DNA strand
DNA is increasingly useful
Every single person in the UK should be compelled to have their DNA on the national database in an effort to prevent crime, a senior police officer has argued.

Currently about two million people who have been charged with criminal offences have their DNA profiles on the national database.

But Kevin Morris, chairman of the Police Superintendents Association, told the Times newspaper opposition to extending the scheme to every man, woman and child was overstated.

The association will call this week for the extension as a tool to revolutionise the fight against crime and solve hundreds of murders.

Civil liberties campaigners have always opposed the suggestion, arguing it is intrusive to make such demands of people who have done nothing wrong.

Campaigners also fear that data could eventually be used by insurers looking for genetic predispositions towards certain serious illnesses.

They also argue that any such move would make all people feel like suspects.

But Mr Morris told the newspaper: "If we have a compulsory database to which every citizen is expected to donate their DNA as a responsibility within our society, I fervently believe we will not only detect crimes quicker but we will help prevent them in the first place.

"With estimates suggesting that there are as many as 600 people in the UK who have committed murder but who escaped initial detection, the question has got to be asked why we can't do more.

"Experience has shown that the general public come forward in their thousands when they believe their sample will help police to detect a serious crime."

Mr Morris told the newspaper people would be more worried about abuses of the DNA by commercial companies than about being seen as suspects.

The BBC's Margaret Gilmore
"The current database has two million samples"

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