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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007, 11:09 GMT 12:09 UK
DNA failings 'missed 183 crimes'
DNA sample being taken
Crime scene DNA is matched to that of suspects
Some 183 crimes went undetected for up to 11 years because of Home Office failings over DNA samples.

They included one paedophile offence, three robberies, nine burglaries, 19 drugs offences and 62 thefts.

More than 26,000 DNA profiles were not added to the archive between 1995 and 2004, the National DNA Database's annual report disclosed.

Later investigation of these led to 85 suspects being identified for 183 crimes, a Home Office spokesman said.

'First-time matches'

A review of the 26,000 profiles - which ran from September 2005 until January last year - led to 1,168 "matches" between forensic samples from crime scenes and DNA profiles on the system.

Of those, 355 were "first-time" matches which had not come to anyone's attention before the failures were investigated.

The 355 matches were sent to police for further investigation, leading to 85 suspects being identified for 183 crimes, a Home Office spokesman said.

The National DNA Database was set up in 1995.

Before 2001, the police could take DNA samples during investigations but had to destroy these, and records derived from them, if suspects were acquitted or charges were not proceeded with.

The law was changed in 2001 to remove this requirement, and changed again in 2004 so that DNA samples could be taken from anyone arrested for a recordable offence and detained in a police station.

'Incomplete information'

A Home Office spokesman said: "Between 1995 and 2004 there was a number of DNA profiles which could not be loaded on the National DNA Database (NDNAD) due to incomplete information.

"This amounted to just 1% of all samples taken between these times.

"Once the Forensic Science Service informed the NDNAD custodian and chair of the NDNAD board of the load failures, swift action was taken to resolve the situation and by January 2006 all the profiles had been investigated and subsequently loaded or otherwise resolved.

"Since this issue came to light procedures have been strengthened to ensure that all forensic laboratories are now required to submit weekly and monthly reports on DNA profiles that are unable to be loaded to the NDNAD quality team, who check the samples against the Police National Computer."

The Home Office said the 183 offences had also included 13 cases of criminal damage, an arson, one case of cannabis production, nine public order offences, seven drink-drives, five cases of intimidating a witness or juror and two of perverting the course of justice.

There were also two cases of carrying an offensive weapon, a car theft and one benefit fraud.

Another case was of a sex offender failing to notify their name or address.

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