The number of profiles held on the national DNA database has risen by 40 per cent in two years and has topped five million, it was disclosed last night.
Figures released by the Home Office showed that there are now 5.1 million profiles on the database ‚Äď up 1.4 million since February 2007.
The Home Office estimates that because of duplicates there are about 13 per cent more profiles than individuals on the database.
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However, the new figures are likely to lead to increasing pressure from civil liberties campaigners, who claim that retaining innocent people’s DNA is a breach of their human rights.
Since April 2004 anyone who is arrested for a recordable offence can be swabbed for their DNA, which is held indefinitely by the National Policing Improvement Agency.
In November last year, the number of profiles held on the database was estimated to be 4.4 million, but 850,000 of those belonged to people who were never charged, acquitted or had the case dropped.