Jacqui Smith was embroiled in another row over the Big Brother state last night after admitting that a baby had its DNA recorded on the national database.
The Home Secretary said the child was aged under one at the time its profile was taken by police and stored.
Liberal Democrat spokesman Chris Huhne said: ‘It is illegal, immoral and ineffective to keep the DNA of a baby on a national police database as if they had committed some felony.’
The controversial database contains 4.5million samples, including more than 600,000 taken from innocent people. Normally, DNA is taken using a swab inside the mouth.
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Changes to the law forced through by Labour have allowed the police to take samples as soon as a person is arrested, then keep it permanently even if they are later cleared of wrongdoing.
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But, with the age of criminal responsibility set at ten in England and Wales, there are no circumstances in which this can have happened to a baby.
The most likely explanation is that the sample was taken from the baby at a crime scene at which they were present, such as the family home, in order to avoid any confusion. Mr Huhne said it should have been immediately destroyed.
Miss Smith, revealing that the sample had been stored, said: ‘As at November 26, 2008, the youngest person with a profile on the NDNAD was aged under one and the oldest was over 90.’