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Page last updated at 08:24 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 09:24 UK

Tories: 'keep DNA for five years'

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Chris Grayling
The Tories say they do not want to move towards a surveillance state

The Home Office has proposed plans for a six and 12-year time limit on holding the DNA profiles of innocent people on a national database.

Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling explains his support for a system like that used in Scotland, where most alleged offenders have their DNA deleted from the database if they are not charged or are acquitted.

The exceptions would be in cases where the person had been investigated for a serious sexual offence, or a violent or terrorist offence, in which case their DNA would be kept for up to five years.

He said: "the job of politicians is to try and find the right balance, to say yes, of course, we want to try and use DNA as a tool to catch criminals, to catch serious offenders, and of course, bear in mind this doesn't stop DNA being re-checked at a later date if an investigation is reopened.

"It's that balance between saying, yes, we need to provide our police with the tools to do the job but also we don't want to go so far down the road towards the surveillance state - that we're seeing in so many parts of the way the government's working at the moment - that we simply compromise the fundamental principles that have underpinned our criminal justice system for a very long time indeed."

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