But crime victims campaigner Jill Saward argued the government was going too far in wiping DNA records.
"Anything that we do that takes away the possibilities of finding out who the guilty are is very detrimental," she said.
The government says the current database has provided 400,000 crime scene matches over a decade, including many which have helped solve crimes years after the original investigation.
One official estimate suggests the changes will result in 4,500 fewer offences detected on average each year - rising to 26,000 if the proposals are extended to the policies on retaining fingerprints, as planned.
The changes were prompted by a European Court of Human Rights ruling that the database in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was illegal.
It said rules allowing police to retain indefinitely the genetic profiles of everyone arrested for a recordable offence were indiscriminate.
DNA sample on arrest
If cleared, profile deleted
If cleared of serious sexual or violent offence, profile kept for maximum of five years
They did not differentiate between criminals and people who had never been convicted, or the severity of offences, it ruled.
Scottish law dictates that records can only be held beyond three years, up to a maximum of five, if police get court permission - a system deemed "fair and proportionate" by the European court.
In response, the Home Office proposes:
Destroying all original DNA samples, like mouth swabs, as soon as they are converted into a digital database profile
Automatically deleting after 12 years the profiles of those arrested but not convicted of a serious violent or sexual crime
Automatically deleting after six years the profiles of anyone arrested but not convicted of other offences
Retaining indefinitely the DNA profiles and fingerprints of anyone convicted of a recordable offence
Remove the profiles of young people arrested but not convicted, or convicted of less serious offences, when they turn 18
While the DNA profiles of all children under 10 have already been deleted, the database is to be expanded to include 30,000 serious offenders who were convicted before the database was established.
The Tories say they would adopt the Scottish system.
Shadow Commons leader Alan Duncan told Parliament the proposed changes to the DNA database were "another example of the government having little regard for civil liberty and justice".
"Keeping someone's DNA on record following arrest when no charges are then brought introduces an element of permanent suspicion where none is warranted," he said.
Liberal Democrat spokesman David Heath said the Home Office was effectively ignoring the European ruling and showing an "inability to understand what the word innocent means".
Commons Leader Harriet Harman hit back at the critics.
She cited the example of Abdul Azad, from Birmingham, who was convicted of a serious sexual assault after DNA evidence matched a profile from a swab taken from him when he had been previously arrested - but never charged - over an unrelated offence.
Rape was a repeat offence so, in bringing Azad to justice, other women were being protected, she argued.
"So you put yourself against justice when you argue against keeping DNA on the database."
Find out how police take a DNA profile from a suspect
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