TIME TO REMOVE 56,000 WELSH INNOCENTS FROM DNA DATABASE

September 27, 2009 12:00 AM

Today, the Welsh Liberal Democrats called on the four Welsh Chief Constables to remove the DNA profiles of innocent Welsh people that have been loaded on to the DNA database, if a request for removal is made.

Since 2001, the DNA profiles of anyone arrested, cautioned or warned has been stored, regardless of whether they are convicted. It is estimated that around 1 in every 5 of the 4.7m individual profiles on the database belong to innocent people.

Chief Constables have the power to remove DNA profiles upon request. In December 2008, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in a landmark case that storing the DNA of innocent people is a blatant breach of their human rights.

The Welsh Lib Dems are urging innocent people in Wales to write to their Chief Constable to request that their DNA be removed and have set up a dedicated webpage with guidance and a downloadable template letter, see: http://jennywillott.org.uk/pages/romove-innocents-from-dna-database.html

Commenting, Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, who has led on this issue in Parliament, said:

"It is appalling that the Government is still allowing innocent people to be put on the DNA database when they know it is a blatant breach of their human rights.

"Storing the DNA of people who have never been convicted of a crime, for the rest of their life, is a violation of a founding pillar of our justice system - innocent until proven guilty.

"The Government is moving at a snail's pace. Over 300,000 innocent people's DNA has been added to the database since the practice was ruled illegal, including 6,000 people in South Wales.

"Those affected in South Wales should use the template letter and advice on my website to write to the Chief Constable to ask for their DNA to be removed.

"Welsh Chief Constables have the power to remove innocent people from the database and to start to restore the faith in our criminal justice system that Labour has eroded. It is now up to them."

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