GOVERNMENT DNA POLICY ILLEGAL

December 4, 2008 12:00 AM

Responding to today's ruling from the European Court of Human Rights that holding the DNA and fingerprints of two British citizens who had never been convicted was illegal, Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central and long-term campaigner for the removal of innocents' DNA from the database, said:

"This ruling confirms that the Government's policy to keep the DNA of innocent people has been illegal all along.

"The Government's decision to store the DNA of 850,000 innocent people, including tens of thousands in Wales, because they just might commit a crime in the future, shows a blatant disregard for a founding principle of our justice system - people are innocent until proven guilty.

"No one denies that DNA is a useful tool in fighting crime. But the Government's own figures show that despite keeping so many innocent people's DNA, including 350,000 children, the number of crimes being solved using the DNA database is falling fast.

"The Government should be using resources much better - it is a huge waste of money holding so many samples of innocent people, particularly when the conviction rate using DNA is falling. They should prioritise crime detection rather than eroding our remaining civil liberties.

"The Government cannot go on treating the innocent like they are criminals. I will be writing to the Home Secretary to urge her to remove innocent people's DNA from the DNA database as soon as possible and to amend the law so that only those found guilty of a crime shall have their DNA retained in the future."

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