|Police to get right to DNA test
everyone they arrest |
Nick Hopkins, crime correspondent
Thursday March 27, 2003
Police officers will be able to fingerprint and take a DNA sample from anyone they arrest under proposals announced yesterday by the Home Office.
At the moment, police are only allowed to record these details when a suspect has been charged. But an amendment to the criminal justice bill will extend the power.
The Home Office minister Lord Falconer said this would help to verify a suspect's identity and prevent criminals "evading detection by giving the police a false name and address". He added: "Taking fingerprints means the police can be 100% certain about the identity of the person in their custody."
The fingerprints and DNA samples will not be destroyed if the suspect is released without charge. They will be added to the national DNA and fingerprint databases.
Ian Blair, the deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan police, welcomed yesterday's announcement.
He said it would "allow vulnerable or violent people to be identified more quickly".
John Wadham, the director of Liberty, said the new power showed the government wanted to treat people as suspects not citizens.
"If there is any significant evidence that someone is involved in a crime, these very personal markers can already be taken. This simply treats everyone who has ever been wrongly arrested as guilty by implication."
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