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Last Updated: Monday, 24 September 2007, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Review held of DNA holding powers
In England and Wales, DNA is held from anyone who is arrested
Procedures for keeping DNA samples from people accused of violent or sexual offences are to be reviewed by a forensic expert, it has been announced.

In Scotland, DNA can be kept permanently in cases where there has been a conviction and for three years for those who have only been accused.

First Minister Alex Salmond had pledged to consider tougher powers.

Professor James Fraser, of the centre for forensic science at Strathclyde University, will carry out the review.

During the election campaign, Labour said it wanted to allow police to keep the DNA of all crime suspects, and has argued it is "unacceptable" that the law on this was more restrictive than in England.

Our government has already made clear that we do not support the blanket retention of all forensic information taken from innocent people
Kenny MacAskill
Justice Secretary

Announcing the move, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "We recognise that there remain differences of opinion and we believe there is merit in examining whether there are further changes to the regime that we can ask parliament to consider.

"Our government has already made clear that we do not support the blanket retention of all forensic information taken from innocent people.

"We are not persuaded, for example, that it would generally be right for the police to keep fingerprints and DNA samples from everyone who is detained but not eventually convicted, or even prosecuted."

He said the review would study the effectiveness of the changes which came into force in January.

The professor will also review the procedure which requires the destruction of all forensics taken from youngsters involved in sexual or violent offences who are dealt with by the children's hearing system rather than the courts.

He will report to the Scottish Government within six months.

'Blanket DNA retention' ruled out
05 Sep 07 |  Scotland
New powers to store suspects' DNA
01 Jan 07 |  Scotland
Police may be handed new powers
20 Jun 05 |  Scotland
At-a-glance: Police Bill details
09 Feb 05 |  Scotland
A database too far?
19 Jan 01 |  UK News


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