Page last updated at 13:28 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 14:28 UK

Should the DNA database be trimmed?

Up to 850,000 DNA profiles will be deleted from the national database after the European Court of Human Rights ruled innocent people must be removed. Do you agree with this decision?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


Your comments:

Let's get this straight. If you are not charged, not tried or found not guilty by "twelve good men and true" then you are innocent. Fact. If subsequently convicted then you are not a reoffender as you have not offended in the first place. The golden thread running through British justice that is the presumption of innocence is too important to tinker with in any way whatsoever.
David Jefferies, Norwich

Even George Orwell would have been shocked at what this government is doing. This has got to stop. This is a free country, not an open prison. Who the hell do these ministers think they are treating us like this? We elect them and pay their wages to run the country, not to treat us like inmates. I've had enough of their cameras, their spying, and their databases. I am a free man, not property of the government. Get lost, Labour, and get out of power ASAP.
Lee, UK

My DNA was taken yet I was never charged with an offence. I feel humiliated and like a second class citizen who is somehow made to feel guilty. I welcomed the EU ruling yet typically this Government ignores what it chooses too. The database should be for everyone or those who are proven guilty.
Mike, Manchester

Clearly the database should be reduced in line with the courts ruling. Why, though, does this government adopt such a grudging stance. And why should England be treated less favourably than Scotland?
Chris Walker, Scunthorpe

I think the entire countries DNA should be on file whether innocent or guilty. the only people who worry about this are the ones with something to hide! Therefore I think the Database shouldn't be trimmed, it should be as complete as possible.
Martin Shone, Hereford

If this so called Government promises it, it definitely wont happen unless they can make money from it, fine people, or gain some personal advantage from it.
Chris Ward, Keighley

No I do not agree with the European Court. Everyone's DNA should be recorded and kept. This would help track down any offenders in the future and if everyone is recorded this may be a deterrent to criminals.
Brian Billingham, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

The retention of DNA the information of innocent people must be resisted. This has more to do with state control of the population than security. I suspect that if they got the police out from behind their desks the case clear up rate would greatly increase at very little increased cost.
F E Fitt,

Unless convicted of a serious crime that is on a legally defined list, no person should have their DNA on any database without their express, written approval and the onus must be on the party holding the DNA data to prove that permission has been given. The action of the current government is typical not only of their authoritarian behaviour, but of their fundamental untrustworthiness. With Labour you always have to read the fine print underneath their headline grabbing announcements, since what they say they are doing is seldom what they are actually going to do. Eternal vigilance is needed when dealing with this Labour government. What a sorry state when a British citizen cannot trust any longer a British government.
David Caddy, Wirral

For me either EVERYONE goes on to the database OR only those convicted of a crime goes on to the database.

That way there is no discrimination against the innocent. The present system insinuates that anyone who comes into contact with the police for whatever reason is guilty of something or will be guilty of something in the future and that is just wrong and discriminatory.
Steve, Manchester

I'm alarmed at the number of people who would so willingly give all information about themselves to any government in the name of crime prevention. How can we truly trust people in power to be responsible and moral in their use of this? To the people below who say: 'Does it matter if big brother is watching? NO! not if you are being a model citizen.' - please define a model citizen. What if a government decides something is unlawful that goes against how a lot of people live peacefully (such as being a homosexual, handicapped, or simply being out late at night)? Our right of anonymity to live our own lives without fear of the powers that be shouldn't be so carelessly thrown away.
Rob, London

yet we have already seen that anti-DNA groups are now even against this preferring to see innocent people go to jail rather than allow DNA evidence prove their innocence.
Andy, Bournemouth

Andy THIS is the government that cannot look after our data safely. Who is to say, your happily provided DNA will not get mixed up with a mass killer? Sorry Andy it's on the database YOU must be the killer. Works both ways mate.
Rob Bain, Derby

Of course not - it would mean that the Police would have to get off their backsides and find the real culprit rather than some innocent sap that happened to sneeze in the general area of a crime.
Alison

"Innocent" people don't get arrested for serious crimes. On many occasions people are not charged with serious crimes, not because they didn't do it but because of the CPS running scared, or the victim withdraws their complaint or the victim is as bad as the offender and so would make a lousy witness. These people are not innocent and will commit further offences.
Mike, Coventry

"What's the problem? If you've got nothing to hide" The problem is that a database with everyone on it will find lots of matches to any sample. It's called a false positive. It happens already even with the small numbers on the database. The more are on it, the worse it gets.
Steve, Peterborough, UK

There are only 2 ways to make this database fair: either it should hold data on people who have been convicted of an offence, or else it should hold data for absolutely everyone. If it is used in any other way, then inclusion of a person on the database implies that they are guilty of something, which is tantamount to defamation in the case of someone who has not been convicted of any offence.
David Hazel, Fareham, UK

Could someone please tell me how many MPs and Police Officers have volunteered their DNA for entry onto the database. Let's see them lead by example, because they keep telling us that if we have done nothing wrong, they we have nothing to hide !
Kevin, Duxford

So Paul....if we're filmed on average 100 times per day, how come the crime rate hasn't already plummeted? Surely all of those cameras would eliminate crime completely? Just like the ID card fiasco, this DNA database "Masterpiece" is seriously flawed...!
Paddy Lawrence, Bristol

Perhaps you should read Old Dog's comment. One day a DNA database might catch the person who attacks you or someone you know, then you might face up to reality. In the meantime, the type of paranoia that shouts down attempts to catch the guilty suggest to me that you are guilty of something yourself!
Teena, England

Statistics show that people claiming benefits commit more crime than non-claimants. To make up for the people who are being removed from the database, surely all people claiming benefits should be added to the DNA database. If this proves successful, we could move on to DNA-ing particular estates of people, then perhaps concentrate on particular occupations, then age groups.
Ian Evans, Cardiff, Wales

The United Kingdom is no longer a free country.
Dave, Portsmouth

It is a disgrace that innocent peoples' DNA could still be held for 12 years. This government is data crazy; ID cards, fingerprints, DNA, recording phone calls, Internet traffic, and yet repeatedly they show they cannot secure it.
Lixxie, Glasgow

If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about having your DNA on the database.

The court of human rights have a lot to answer for and are used for the protection of the guilty more than the innocent.
Tom Copeland, Congleton England

It's only a matter of time before some human "rights" group (fronted by a human rights lawyer) decides there's money to be made by arguing that criminals' records should be deleted too.
Jack, London

"Many "innocent" people are just those who intimidated witnesses so they could not be charged or convicted.
Mark S, London "

And how will evidence of their DNA stop these frightened people being threatened? If they ignored all other evidence, this is merely more evidence to ignore.
Mark, Exeter, UK

The DNA database is a good thing; for convicted offenders only. Though given the government's failure to protect our information even that could be suspect.
David H, London

Sit back and wait for the media criticism of the police when they can not solve the next high profile child murder. The country can not have it both ways
anon

To be honest has anyone really ever complained about the DNA storage? It does not affect our day to day lives, and lets be honest, how much more do the government have on us? Quite a bit with passports, Medical files, Driving licenses. DNA is just a little bit more and can only be useful to fight crime. I know for a fact that my blood and DNA are at several universities world wide due to a rare disease I have had since birth, so one more person has it. Not much of an issue for me
Nick J, Dorking

The Government say's and what it actually does are two different things. I don't believe a word this bunch of losers say anymore [not that I ever did]. Time for change vote for none of the above. Oh and all this info is stored on government computers and we all know how reliable their security is. Major incompetence thy name is New Labour.
Pete, Gloucester

This is not really a question, is it? Of course innocent people need to be removed. Innocent means exactly that. Boring discussion
Wil Voitus van Hamme, Blandford Forum

HMG's proposal amounts to an erosion of the principle of "innocent until proven guilty". If this is adopted, some people will be more innocent than others - if the three year limit used in Scotland is good enough for the Scots, and the European Court is happy with the Scottish system, why should we have anything different. Another example of this defunct government getting it wrong - I wonder how long till we see the climb-down! (An ex-labour supporter and "less innocent" person.
Ian, Wrexham, Wales

Once again New Labour out of sync with the majority of the country holding DNA for people who are unconvicted or charged is a breach of human rights. Jacqui Smith arguments leads to a logical conclusion of every body having DNA taken at birth! New Labour talks about dealing with issues but this, like the Ghurkhas, shows they much prefer taking action when they don't like the answer and consult it away to future years. Good to see the Tories backing the Scottish model which is proportionate
Peter Parker, Birmingham

I'm not a criminal and I have nothing to hide, but you have to be forward thinking, what about in 20 or 50 years time, what government will we have then? What if these records are open to employers for underhand fees or are just a matter of public record? What if you couldn't get a job or a mortgage because you had a particular gene that was associated with a certain underlying psychological or physical impairment. DNA is constantly being mapped I'm not a paranoid person but I wouldn't want to give any government that sort of power.
Sarah, York

DNA records should not be kept for the simple reason that they are so unreliable. Various statistical errors have been made over the years which have later shown to have had innocent people incarcerated. It's a good thing that the police and the security services have to work a bit to find culprits. It creates a body of balanced evidence. If a DNA database showed a match, how much effort would the police put into investigating the potential innocence of that person? Or would they simply selectively pick 'facts' that back up their DNA result? I am against the database because it will lead to miscarriages of justice. I am not against DNA evidence in general as long as it is accompanied by balanced, unbiased and impartial physical evidence.
Luke, London

Since DNA isn't 100% proof of an identity, I can't see why it's able to be used in crime scenes. If my DNA is on that database and I get jailed for something I never did, on the basis that my DNA was a decent match, then that's part, if not all, my life wasted.
Kyle Frazer, Durham

Keep the DNA of serious convicted criminals only otherwise one day even the paranoid advocates of this Orwellian scheme will panic when they find their teenage children listed as suspects in crimes because the database says so - or its fallible human programmer made a mistake! This is an abuse, open to abuse and will result in a disaster or police state the likes of which we haven't seen yet!
Rennie, Glasgow

I have one word to say to the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" lobby and that word is curtains.
Phil Houghton, Manchester

Innocent until proven guilty, or guilty until you can prove your innocence?

Evidently the police cannot be bothered to do plain, old-fashioned detective work anymore.

What if Europe had national DNA databases in 1939? Hitler would have found them very useful for his mission to 'purify' the human race.
A Mark, B'ham

Absolutely not. Who knows what people may get up to in the future.
Dave, Basingstoke, Hants

It should be trimmed according to EU Rules. So BBC should stand against .GOV and demand correct rules be used. Imposing conditions on innocent people, especially shady terms. Well I hope BBC does not sit Quietly idle. And don't twist (edit)my Comment
Aubrey, Romford Essex

Innocent people should not even be on the DNA Database. The individual has gone through hell to prove their innocence, then only to have their innocence doubted by being kept on the DNA Database. This stigmatises the individual when seeking employment which requires an enhanced CRB CHECK and ruins their lives. Please can you answer this question? Is the associated PNC Record to be deleted also? Are innocent juveniles DNA/PNC to be deleted when they reach the age of 18 years old?
Mrs Davies, S Wales United Kingdom

To all of the fools that say. "Oh I think we all should be on the database"

REMEMBER this is the government that cannot look after your data, this is the government that leaves USB sticks on trains, laptops on trains, and posts millions of records in an unsecure manner. You go on the database if you like, I will use any and all methods to stay off it.
Rob Bain, Derby

We seem to be expected to think that DNA testing and fingerprinting are infallible. They are not and mistakes have and will be made with them. I am innocent and do not want my fingerprints or DNA to be used for someone to 'prove' that I did something I didn't. The records of innocent people should not be kept for any reason.
Mike Eckhoff, Reading

I work in the legal system, I have never committed any offence and would not want my DNS details stored anywhere. I don't see why anybody who has not been convicted of a crime should have their details stored. Convicted people yes. Any criminal case brought to court has to be proved on the evidence provided. What about identical twins? Don't they have exactly the same DNA. Even DNA can be wrong, there are people called Chimeras who have more than one set of DNA.
Lorna, Gloucester

Anyone who heard the Home Office spokesperson on Today this morning should shiver with fear at the attitudes clearly embedded deep in this department of state. Increasingly we are just subjects to be catalogued, managed, controlled and ruled by a nomenclatura of career politicians, their international business masters and their willing Stazi type thugs at the Home Office and in the Police.
Robert Hardy, Cambridge

"But having the DNA of these people will very frequently lead to them being caught later. ... Most criminals commit more than one crime, they will come again.
OldDog, UK "

For which they will be caught again without DNA database and for which there may be more evidence (if they really ARE habitual criminals). If they don't do crime again, then how will DNA evidence be of any use?
Mark, Exeter

To everyone who says no, I'd like to know if you still would have that view if your sister / daughter / mother was raped and the only evidence was DNA, knowing that a database of everyone would most likely identify the person who did it?
Chris, Bristol

Sure, nothing to hide, nothing to fear, right? So there shouldn't be problem with MPs and their families going on the register first? This is just more evidence that the government, who have usurped the people and think they rule us, have decided that none of us are to be trusted. It's time to put them back in their place and boot them out at the next election. It can't come soon enough.
Gothnet, London

My understanding is that the DNA near matches are also valuable in identifying someone who may be closely related to someone whose DNA is on record. Seems to be a good way of identifying the guilty without putting the innocent through the wringer... where do I sign up to give a sample of my DNA?
Bob, London

If all people were born equal, and the innocent's and the convicted's DNA are on file, what does it matter? If you want to extend that argument a bit further then the media should never publish pictures of people without their permission especially in the long wake of Princess Di's death. You live once, live well and you won't have to worry about who's spying on you or not...be it the Government, the media or your next door neighbour.
C. D'Souza, Emeryville, CA

There is clearly an issue about who is considered innocent. Just because a case is discontinued for whatever reason, this does not necessarily mean the person detained is innocent. So we have to be careful how this is approached as many guilty parties escape justice because of weak points in evidence or complaints being dropped, they know they are guilty and this is why the database is important and needs some semblance of permanence. So there are many who deserve to stay on such databases.
Chris V, Sussex

It is interesting that the Labour Party expects British Citizens to obey the letter of the law while it sees fit to ignore the European Court. And which party decided that we should answer to that court (without asking British Citizens)? Also, those of you in favour of DNA profiling really ought to read Nineteen Eighty-Four and then imagine what 2019 might be like under the Labour Party.
Mike R, Blackpool, UK

Once you're proved innocent, and the case is closed, then your DNA should be off the database. End of story.
Paul R, Blackpool, UK

Just a couple of points really
a) The judgement said it was wrong to hold the samples and profiles - so is the governments respect for the law so low that they feel they can ignore that?
b) I thought a person was innocent until proved guilty. So if DNA is used to find the guilty then why are you included when you may have done nothing wrong. This comes close to a presumption of guilt - I despair , I really do
Tony, Cardiff

People must think long and hard about why innocent people are held on such a data base. This isn't some little research project this is a method of social control. If you are on a data base then you are a number in the system all it takes is a glitch in that system and you could end up accused of a crime you didn't commit. Yes innocent people should be removed. When we cannot trust the people running our country why should they have us on a database ?
Mick, Scotland

The DNA database is essential in identifying criminals. Not only can it be used to identify criminals outright and reduce crime, DNA profiling can be used to to find relatives of criminals. It tends to be that people brought up in high crime rate areas will continue on to commit crime in future. If you have this parents fathers of mothers DNA, then straight away you can identify that the offender is a direct relative of the parents and hence the police have a direct path to investigate. Let's say its a murder or a rape! The case would be left unsolved if we didn't have a DNA profile.
Jamie, Glasgow

Once again the control freak government haven't gone far enough.

I am in the camp that thinks all people should have their DNA on record. Where's the harm? how can it be a violation of privacy? I do not even understand what that means in this context. ID cards, DNA why not, what harm? Does it matter if big brother is watching? NO! not if you are being a model citizen.
Dale Hicks, Gt Bentley, England

It frightens me that he even admits he doesn't understand the potential behind the use and abuse of this database and yet is happy to blithely comment that there's no harm. It's almost as frightening as the potential abuse of the system.
Anon, Newcastle upon Tyne

Simple really. Dispose of the DNA specimen (so no claims of "planted" evidence), but keep the profile for later comparisons. Resampling and retesting can confirm any database hits.
Padraig Hart, Belfast, N.Ireland

I totally disagree with the keeping of any DNA profiles. To keep a sample of everyone who is arrested is a disgrace. Despite the ruling I still don't trust the authorites to destroy the samples after 6 or 12 or whatever years. That is far too long. What happens elsewhere in Europe?

The practice of keeping DNA profiles was introduced by stealth with out proper debate. Anyone who is found to be innocent after having their DNA taken should have the record removed, although I suspect that the police may still covertly retain them and use the profile to gather evidence elsewhere whilst not disclosing in court that they have used DNA tracking. In other words, DNA may prove someone's guilt but the police will have to produce other hard evidence to make their case.
Miles Stuart, Denmead, Hampshire

Not only should these DNA profiles not be removed but everyone person's DNA should be added. There are countless reasons for this and the European Human Rights bills should receive a major overhaul or be scrapped.
Tony Robotham, Leicester

I have no objection to my DNA being stored on record. People say that there was no need for this, that we've got on fine without it before but it's still a relatively new technology. I have no objection to my DNA being stored, as long as everyone's DNA is being stored. I do have an objection thought to innocent people's being stored. It should either be everyone or no one. The DNA database will prevent crime because it will allow criminals to be caught after 1 crime. Most crimes are committed by repeat offenders.
Tommy, Maidstone, Kent

It's obvious that the Police don't need to keep DNA samples of innocent people. This ruling fosters a culture whereby nobody is treated as innocent until proven guilty anymore, a view that absolutely needs to be central to any criminal justice system. The police do charge the wrong people. Routinely. So how could somebody who was acquitted of a crime ever have confidence in the system again if they new their DNA would be kept 'just in case'. The police can already forcibly take DNA from suspects under arrest. If the actual perpertrator of a crime is never arrested then the police have clearly not done their job. This is not acceptable - I do mine.
Alex, Milton Keynes

My Nectar card has more personal information about me than my DNA. I don't protest at Nectar holding my information indefinitely, especially when it theoretically could be used for marketing purposes. People are on electoral roles, have National Insurance numbers, DVLA numbers, Passport numbers, birth certificates why the fuss about DNA? Because you can't fake it like you can your name on a Blockbuster card, I guess.
James Love, York, UK

Yes. Listening to Vernon Coaker on Today was deeply worrying. He seemed to have a mindset that people who had been arrested, but found to be innocent, were all ones that had got away and continually referred to "re-offending" by innocent people. He seemed to assume that people that had been arrested must be guilty of something and so should be monitored. Isn't that drifting into a police state?
Richard, Reading

At the moment you can have your DNA taken for serious offences such as dropping a bus ticket on the floor by accident i.e. depositing litter. There should be no power to ask for/take DNA samples unless the offences carries a minimum prison sentence of 5 years; and only allowed to be checked/retained if a guilty plea is forthcoming in a Court. Police Cautions should not count.
Ian, Wakefield

DNA samples should be immediately destroyed for those found innocent or not convicted of any crime. For those committing a minor crime, maybe up to 5 years (in case of re-offending), but for those convicted of and sexual or related crime they should be kept for up to 50 years. Many people have been able to be convicted now, for crimes they committed 30/40 years ago, when this resources was not available.
Shaz, Manchester

"Anti-DNA groups are now even against this preferring to see innocent people go to jail rather than allow DNA evidence prove their innocence."
Andy, Bournemouth

Sorry - I fail to see how this is a valid argument. If you are innocent then what is to stop you offering your DNA anyway to prove it? why does it already need to be in a database? It doesn't change over time!
John Byng, York, UK

Many who are pro DNA records don't seem to realise that they are not perfect methods of detection. It is possible in certain cases to fake DNA evidence and if the crime is important enough the criminal might try to do this to incriminate the innocent. As such wouldn't it be better to simply do proper police work - which is after all what we pay the police to do? In addition the Home Office spokesperson who claimed that two thirds of offenders re-offend within 12 years (to justify the 12 year retention of records) seems to be presuming guilt before the crime. If this is to be used as an argument by the same logic wouldn't it be better to lengthen their jail terms by 12 years to prevent the crime in the first place?
Anon, York

I think it is more complicated than most are suggesting. We get very angry when we hear after a crime that the perpetrator had "previous" or a "murky" past. These are the "known felons" of the future that the police might catch a bit earlier in their criminal careers if they had DNA help. Just because someone has never been charged by the police or convicted does not mean that they have never committed a crime.
Steve, Bognor, Bognor Regis

All your commentators seem to think people not charged and convicted are innocent. That is the principle of British Law, but the unfortunate and less palatable truth is that the vast majority of these people are in fact guilty. Because the CPS are judged on successful prosecutions, they now only authorise charge in all but the most simple cases. The police rarely arrest innocent people, however the justice system as a whole routinely lets the guilty go free. If one murderer is convicted as a result of current DNA policy, then the rights of a few 'unconvicted criminals' should not be used as a reason to stop DNA retention
Guy Hubbard, Leicester

Personally, I wouldn't mind being on a database, but its what this government do with our information is more of a concern. We simply cant trust them!
George Williams, Birmingham, UK

Yes, it should be trimmed. If they're innocent, they're innocent, and their DNA shouldn't be stored by the government. This sinister government is storing far too much information about people as it is.
Mark, Leicester

So the government is saying that they don't trust the system... If someone is arrested, they may well be guilty of a crime, even though the justice system says they are not? So we should keep their PRIVATE data, just in case. Sorry... no... just not right. Innocent means just that until proved guilty, you should have no stigma, of being on a criminal related database.
Ian, Basingstoke, UK

I don't need a database to enable me to predict what type of individual will commit a crime. More often than not impoverishment appears to be the catalyst. Using biology whole heartedly to determine criminality or solve crimes is a stupid and dangerous road to follow. The social is responsible for crime so keep science out of it
Wayne, London

The DNA of innocent people will not be deleted. The government will still keep it for between 6 - 12 years. The position of this government is that there are no innocent British people, There are only those not yet convicted.
Colin Craig, Stratford

A DNA database is no more intrusive than the phone book and being on a DNA database should not imply guilt. Everyone in the UK should be on the database to help speed up the solving of crimes and it may also prevent people from acting illegally if they know there is a high chance of being identified. People who are against the database quote 'innocent until proven guilty' which is of course correct and are happy for a database for convicted criminals only but this won't help solve crimes committed by people not yet on the database
Mike S, London, UK

We need to be able to sue bodies who keep private information on us for no legal purpose. The state has had no rights since Magna Carta to abuse our rights without cause. This is a sign of a state going down the path of dictatorship. There may be little street crime in a dictatorship but there is little freedom either. Our soldiers in Iraq are not fighting for Mr. Brown, they are fighting for the freedom of us all. Statements by Gordon Brown in the House stating how he regrets the casualties must be compared with his undermining our ancient freedoms for which are people, past and present, have been fighting to preserve. Equally the Ghurkhas are thanked then expelled. Shame, shame shame!
Richard Kightley, Southampton UK

Innocent people should not be kept on the database. However, this does not include criminals where there is insufficient evidence to charge. The best middle-o-the-way approach will be for when a conviction is quashed, the judge rules how long a persons DNA will stay on a database for, to a maximum of X years.
Alex

Why not have everyone's DNA on database - not all "Not Guilty" are innocent - no problem if they are !!
Terry Hope, Altrincham UK

What is the problem with people. the idea of the DBA database is to help solve crime it is not used for anything else. if you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about. DNA has also proved people innocent as well as guilty. cold cases have been solved by persons being profiled for road traffic offences which then match more serious offences.
Steve Grainger, Grimsby

We should ALL go on the DNA database. What has an honest, law abiding citizen got to loose ? Would you like the murderer of anyone , especially close family go free ?
Marc Ponsford, Aylesbury , Bucks

For those who question the 'usefulness' of Europe and the European court, this is it. As Chris Huhne correctly states, The government works for us and should stop trying to confuse its own whimsical (and illegal) 'rule of law' with the law of the land. Moreover, the random retention of DNA of innocents is immoral and as a practice allows the government to further restrict our freedoms. What next? As for the 12 year period, all that does prolong this illegal act and the sooner they are made to destroy it the better.
Mark Williams, United Kingdom

People are conflating several issues. The miscarriage of justice outcomes are based on comparing historical evidence and a current sample - NOT the DNA Database profiles. DNA profiles are NOT unique to any one person - they only match fragments of DNA. This test can positively EXCLUDE a person - but it can NOT prove it is uniquely their DNA. The Scottish system is a sensible time compromise.
ChrisJK, England

"What's the problem? If you've got nothing to hide and don't intend to commit a crime why not have your DNA stored. Take everyone's DNA at birth and watch Britain's crime rate plummet!! Those who protest should bear in mind that they are on average captured on CCTV 100 times a day!"
Paul, Manchester

So Paul....if we're filmed on average 100 times per day, how come the crime rate hasn't already plummeted? Surely all of those cameras would eliminate crime completely? Just like the ID card fiasco, this DNA database "Masterpiece" is seriously flawed...!
Paddy Lawrence, Bristol

DNA database, why not? And while they're at it why not a fingerprint database, and a dental record database, and we could all be tattooed with a number at birth. We have surveillance cameras everywhere and Oyster cards to track our movements around cities. These databases are simply the manifestation of a government scared of its people and needing total control. And before the Tories get on their high horse it was Howard the removed a lot of our civil liberties including the double jeopardy rule. A curse on all their houses.
Mike, London

This is a disgrace. It is disgusting to think that innocent parties are effectively being held responsible for actions they didn't commit for up to 12 years after they were found innocent. This ruling is just playing into the hands of those people who choose to pervert the law for there own ends. Yes by all means keep convicted criminals data but the innocent?
Tristan, Cambridge

I will be the voice of the minority here but I would vote for mandatory inclusion on a national DNA database from birth for all. In my view only a criminal has a true reason to object to such an approach to help crime prevention. There would be new concerns - religious objectors, what about foreigners who rape during a visit to the UK? what about people who manage to plant others DNA at a crime scene such as a drip of blood? But a new science always creates new concerns.
Steve, Bognor, Bognor Regis

As a serving police officer, I have to agree that a great many people who are in reality "guilty" are not found guilty in court due to evidence rules, blind luck or lack of evidence. Fair enough, that's how the system works, we have to live with it, but having the DNA of these people will very frequently lead to them being caught later. The benefits of the system far outweigh the disadvantages. Most criminals commit more than one crime, they will come again.
OldDog, UK

There should only be serious convicted criminals paedophiles murderers, rapists, etc., I do not trust anyone with my DNA but my own body there are always errors weather it be your DNA get used by accident and your convicted even if innocent or it is mixed up with a criminals and I end up in jail for it, I for one would like to keep my freedom in my own hands not the blunderous hands of the government, or any other government to be honest were all human mistakes are always made, no matter the party, i feel disgusted about this database holding on to innocent peoples DNA, what's next lock everyone up in jail for 6 years "just in case".
Antony, Bradford

There is no such thing as a wiped database. You can bet your boots it will be kept somewhere.
JJS, Dundee

If I am an innocent citizen and never been convicted of any crime, then the police and govt have absolutely no reason to keep my DNA on record. Seriously John in Poole, do you think you are 'protected' by this database? The govt loses 25m child benefit records, can they be trusted with any data? As soon as an investigation has finished and a person is proven innocent, then any DNA record should be removed immediately. This is a big brother government and the sooner it is voted out of office the better.
Adrian Thomson, Rochdale

DNA is not just an individual tag, its a blueprint for reproducing a person. The EU have already said the UK government has abused its powers. The database should be trimmed immediately and the government should apologise for overstepping the mark.
Mike, Wolverhampton

The big question is why not? I've got no problems with knowing that the police have an easy and fast tool for locating people. I don't intend to commit any crimes - and I like the idea that if something horrific happens to me, someone will know who I was. Can we ask the police to exempt our DNA from this deletion, or is that not allowed?
Joshua Entwistle, Cardiff, Wales

I am aware that one of my neighbours has been arrested 3 times for offences involving violence. On one occasion he was not charged due to lack of evidence and on two other times let off with a caution. This is a person who boasts of his violent attitude and who settles petty arguments with violence. This is EXACTLY the kind of person who's DNA should be on the database but people like Mark Thomas and some liberal protestors think he should not be.
Richard, Leeds

Why on earth was someone let with a caution for a violent offence!?. This individual is not innocent (he has had a caution for an offence) so his DNA should be retained on the database.
Clive Ansell, Wythall, Worcestershire

It should be eliminated for all but sexual offences and grave violent offences. Even then the records should be deleted when the conviction is spent. This is not a police state yet, lets try to keep it that way.
Jon Sanderson, Retford

This same set of principles is what led us into Iraq. Guilty until proven innocent. The government's argument relating to reduced crime is completely backward. The police end up feeling encouraged to arrest innocent people in order to gain profiles. They have everything to gain. But what the government fails to understand is that a healthy society is not based on good crime figures alone. I would rather see guilty people walking the streets than innocent people rotting in prison. After all "2 wrongs don't make a right". We are losing our fundamental moral code. Labour's continuing squeeze on basic human rights means I will definitely not be voting for them again.
Andrew Monson, London

Imagine that a man is questioned about a crime and his DNA is taken, he is later removed as a suspect but later the police match his DNA to a number of unsolved serious crimes (such as rape and/or murder) but the court of human right rules that as the man was innocent of the crime his DNA was taken for it was take for and therefore should not of been held for any amount of time after that. The mans conviction is over turned and he get off on a technicality. Now how is storing DNA of innocent people dangerous to us all again? The only people it's dangerous to are those that have commit serious crimes yet have not been found out yet?
Andy, Bournemouth

Let's answer the "If you're innocent what have you got to fear question" shall we? I fear an unscrupulous government with too much information - what might another Hitler do with that information? I fear an incompetent government that allows criminals to steal my information I fear release to insurance companies - stopping me ever having cover again. Is that enough to start with?
Mike Poole, Bexhill, East Sussex

The DNA database is a conduit for a totalitarian society. It is nonsense that only criminals have something to fear, and only those employed by the police would say that. Humans have coexisted for thousands of years without the need for such personal intrusion by the government or police who regularly make mistakes in identity. I remember when the innocent had the right to have their fingerprints destroyed, now you can't. This will not stop nor prevent crime in the same way the death penalty is not a deterrent to serious crimes. Fear mongers wish us to be labelled and categorised like cattle and only an idiot would entrust a very dubious government with a poor track record of data security and human rights, with the rights of ownership of your personal cell structure. The UK people need to stop being so blindly obedient and driven by fearmongerers.
M Jones, London

I am in the camp that thinks all people should have their DNA on record. Where's the harm? how can it be a violation of privacy? I do not even understand what that means in this context. ID cards, DNA why not, what harm? Does it matter if big brother is watching? NO! not if you are being a model citizen.
Dale Hicks, Gt Bentley, England

If everyone had their DNA taken and stored, surely almost every crime would then be solved? So instead of deleting DNA record we should be adding to them, guilty or not guilty. Think of all the unsolved crimes which would then become solved. Am I the only one who has thought of this?
Tim, Yorkshire

Yes it should be. I was stopped for suspected drink driving and I was totally innocent and then everything was dropped, but they took my DNA and fingerprints. What right have they got to keep those. It is not fair!! I did nothing wrong and was persecuted by a bored policeman late on a Tuesday night when not much was going on. Just because I drove out of a pub car park.
Nina

If convicted (including accepting a caution) then the DNA should be kept on file - not indefinitely for minor crimes. For everything else, the DNA should be removed within 3 years due to the presumption of innocence. Three years is long enough for a person who 'got away with it' to re-offend. Everyone else didn't offend in the first place, they're innocent, they can't 're-offend' unlike the Government's comments in the article suggests, which is that everyone is guilty, is the government thinking "no smoke without fire"? It's the 21st Century!
JeeBee, London

Those found guilty of minor offences should only have their DNA held for a limited period and those not convicted of any offence should not have their DNA held at all. This country is rapidly going from innocent until proven guilty to assumed guilty and were letting it happen.
Andy, Liverpool

"The database is a good way of quickly detecting criminals in future crimes, if you are innocent what is there to worry about?
SGrace, Yeadon, England"

Two words: DNA Contamination. Yes, some criminals actively taint their crime scenes with DNA (e.g., cuttings from a hair salon). When you restrict the DNA database to criminals, at least you're matching against people who commit crimes. When you match against everyone, you match against your father/son/husband/wife/etc and cause agony for many people when the DNA is mismatched.
JeeBee, London

...Is it worth pointing out that this is totally inadmissible in court? While it can be used to find you it can't be used to convict you, the jury are not allowed to see it. Which is good really as you have been found innocent...
Claire, Hull

Do you really believe that the database is primarily for fighting crime?

DNA can be used by insurance companies to target people with the likelihood of specific illnesses, so they can increase their premiums. The government can use it to work how much you will cost to the NHS etc. This is another money making scam where the government will sell on the data.
Kris, London

So, in our modern and free Britain, you can be stopped and searched for no reason, arrested on a whim, and then have your DNA taken and stored without your consent. This this how the we want to live in a free society?
Aris,

Richard in Leeds, if he's being let off with a caution, how is having DNA evidence going to change this situation?
Mark, Exeter

This is outrageous. Why should the police keep records for 6 years? They should be deleted as soon as you're cleared of the accusation. The "nothing to worry about if innocent" is a weak argument that contradicts a fundamental principle of innocent until proven guilty.
Nick, Cambridge

Sir Alec Jefferies is right that our DNA is our property. The misunderstanding of naive people who do not understand the implications of the miss-use of this information is beyond belief. Again, DNA evidence is not water-tight and the government has been selling our information on to private enterprise. Take for example insurance and employment data that could exclude whole families from society.
Charles, Hants

The DNA of the innocent will only help if they take your DNA and compare it to stuff at the scene of the crime. But DNA cannot be the only proof: it is not reliable evidence, just additional. So they should only be testing against people who COULD have done it. Well, why not have the accused opt for a DNA test to see if they were there? No need to keep a database, since the bad guys can't get rid of it, can they.
Mark, Exeter

Retaining DNA of anyone, guilty or not, to me means there is a presumption that an offender will likely re-offend at some time in the future but also that the innocent are similarly presumed to offend in the future. Either of these situations contravenes innocence until proved guilty which is a fundamental right in our laws. However I would agree that DNA be retained for medical reasons and medical reasons alone.
Jack the lad, Cheshire

You can get arrested for the most stupid thing these days, even if you didn't commit any offence. Why should your DNA be kept at all. the government would love to have the whole country's DNA on file.
Dave, Essex

I couldn't care less what any European "court" decides but the Labour Junta always DOES. Therefore they have NO CHOICE but to obey their masters and scrap all record of innocent members of the public. If they don't, EVERYONE will know EXACTLY what sort of "Government" we have....
Greybeard, Worcester

Many "innocent" people are just those who intimidated witnesses so they could not be charged or convicted. When was there a human right not to be caught for a crime! Tell that to the victims.
Mark S, London

I personally think that every single person should be kept on the DNA database from birth, this would be the most helpful aid to all crime. However, until they agree to do this, then all DNA from innocent people should be removed immediately, not at the whim of the biggest bunch of criminals in this country.
K D Hutchinson, Sunderland, UK

What have you got to fear if you're innocent? Well, judging by the previous record, another miscarriage of justice. It doesn't help victims to keep tabs on their fellow innocents, does it?
Simon Heywood, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

I am aware that one of my neighbours has been arrested 3 times for offences involving violence. On one occasion he was not charged due to lack of evidence and on two other times let off with a caution. This is a person who boasts of his violent attitude and who settles petty arguments with violence. This is EXACTLY the kind of person who's DNA should be on the database but people like Mark Thomas and some liberal protestors think he should not be.
Richard, Leeds

12 years is a long time. The records of innocent people ought not to be stored after an investigation is finished, and those records that the police have been hoarding should be destroyed immediately. The state has no real need of this information, whatever they may say - Scotland manages to get by with a far more reasonable system. I may have 'nothing to hide', but that doesn't mean I'd want you to read my diary, and it doesn't mean I want assorted bureaucrats to be able to poke through my DNA.
Rachael, Oxford

I think it's sad that the media publish the dangers of storing DNA for innocent people. What about promoting a balanced view, such as reporting how rape victims had the good news that offenders were convicted following their identification via DNA. Someone could be arrested for minor traffic offences and their DNA match that of serious crimes. Surely, that should be more of a concern than if you are a good citizen who has their DNA on a database?
Jane, Bristol

Those who protest should bear in mind that they are on average captured on CCTV 100 times a day!!!

Paul, Manchester

That too much already, we have the most intrusive government of any "free" nation on the planet, surveillance, is greater here than it ever was in the former Soviet block, our own people are achieving what 50 years of cold war never did.
Steve

Either put everybody on it and get on with the database state or remove people who are not convicted immediately.
Jeremy, Plymouth

The government is trying to introduce a total surveillance society by the back door. We are told about all of these so called terror plots to scare us into agreeing to more limits on our freedom. DNA helps to solve crimes, but would you trust Nu Labour with your details. Disagree with them and one of their attack dogs will probably find something in your background or DNA to smear you with in the the media.
Chris Parker, Buckingham

The database is a good way of quickly detecting criminals in future crimes, if you are innocent what is there to worry about?
SGrace, Yeadon, England

The government as usual is flying in the face of public opinion and legal ruling. They don't care what the people think they do as they please.They [Government] are a disgrace to the words justice and honour.
Viv Wilkins, Whetstone England

Of course DNA profiles of innocent folk should be wiped, not after 6/12 years but after 1 year at the most.
Michael McIver, Hastings England

The keeping of DNA is a deterrent measure, therefore its applicability is mainly to premeditated crime, most crime in this country is spontaneous, so it will help catching criminals but as a good preventative measure the government will have to think again.
Steve

Why do people agree with this."Blah blah nothing to hide blah blah". Get a grip. In the past 10 years labour has tried to take our freedom, Why? because they cant control crime, thanks to the crazy human rights garbage they introduced, which is more likely to help crooks than innocent people. Roll on election time.
John

The point is that just because there isn't enough evidence to convict someone doesn't actually make them innocent. There are situations where police cannot charge someone who has been arrested due to lack of submissable evidence, this doesn't mean they didn't do it, if they then have their DNA on file, they can reference it to past or future unresolved crimes. I'm quite happy with this idea, although I think it would be better to be selective about only taking DNA for crimes where DNA might actually be useful in solving the crime e.g. take DNA for burglary, rape or murder, but not fraud or drink driving.
llondon, London

What's the problem? If you've got nothing to hide and don't intend to commit a crime why not have your DNA stored. Take everyone's DNA at birth and watch Britain's crime rate plummet!! Those who protest should bear in mind that they are on average captured on CCTV 100 times a day!!!
Paul, Manchester

No, it should NOT be trimmed. It should be wiped out completely. Our Surveillance State has already gone too far.
Darkseid, Llangollen, North Wales

I'm actually with the government on this one, I would be happy for all UK citizens to be protected by this database, because ID fraud has the potential to destroy whole nations now. This database really has potential to stop crime. I would suggest compulsory entry for all criminals, and a separate, voluntary scheme only available to sound citizens.
John, Poole

So, let's get this clear.

If you are innocent of a serious crime your DNA will stay on the database for twice as long as if you are innocent of a less serious crime. Given the European Court of Human Rights recent declaration that this element of the database is a breach of human rights would this evidence be admissible in any subsequent court case?
B Patrick, Ellesmere Port

I cannot see any argument against taking everyone's DNA at birth. Too many people were wrongly convicted and now cleared because of DNA evidence - what about their rights? What about the woman that has been raped? DNA evidence would reduce the risks to every women in the country. Would gangs be so confident when bullying people all around them? Or people selling drugs? Can we afford to keep building more and more prisons? Take everyone's DNA now.
John Pearce, Bolton

The government should at least be honest. If they want a national DNA database they should legislate for it. The reason people get so suspicious of their motives is that it seems they are trying to bring a national DNA database in via a backdoor - through police investigations- without any kind of parliamentary scrutiny.
Jim Corrigan, Gateway city

Why are they keeping DNA samples of innocent people at all..? Just in case they commit a crime in the future..?? ALL DNA samples of innocent people should be deleted...
David, Cambridge UK

In some ways a national DNA register would be preferable to the ID database - DNA is a reasonably infallible unique identifier and there is no need to store any other personal information whatsoever.
Megan, Cheshire UK

As a proponent of ID cards I find it hard to make my case when the Government unlawfully keeps DNA records of perfectly innocent people.
James Reynolds, Hatfield, England

Jacqui Smith will not give in to her having a huge data base containing everyone's details will she. This woman needs to be stopped our individual freedoms are rapidly disappearing. Why does Scotland not see the need as she does.
talkativechap, Salisbury

Innocent - OFF. Guilty - ON. Simple. How hard can it be. Anything else is an infringement of your privacy of the highest order. Basic statistics tell you repetition will occur from the guilty. Sort it out. its embarrassing having robust, simple, logical solutions not being acknowledged.
Jake, ABZ

The government have been trying to build a DNA database of all of us by stealth. The latest government move is the minimum they think they can get away with and still be within the law. Innocent people should not have their DNA stored on the database at all - not for 12 years, not for 6 years, not at all.
Tony Gosling, London

To be presumed guilty for the next 12 years when you've done nothing wrong is a disgrace. If you're innocent then your innocent and should be treated as such.
Paul, London

This is one of those questions where you can have both yes and no to the answer. Time factor search in the DNA file, as against the time search looking for what is not there... So is this the problem, I doubt it lets leave things as they are, anyway how would you know your file had been wiped?
Borobear, Bristol

Paul, if you have nothing to hide and don't intend to commit a crime, why should your DNA be stored? It will not help you and can therefore only be a problem.
Mark, Exeter, UK

Technically someone is innocent until they have been found guilty, does this mean that Genewatch think people on trial should be able to have DNA removed as evidence and have the right to refuse to give samples? DNA isn't just important for solving crimes but for over turning miscarriages of justice, yet we have already seen that anti-DNA groups are now even against this preferring to see innocent people go to jail rather than allow DNA evidence prove their innocence.
Andy, Bournemouth



Print Sponsor



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific