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Special report: crime

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Meet criminals who cost UK 14bn: the middle class

Interview: Ruth Ellis's sister

The Guardian profile: Paul Evans

Teen lawbreakers are children too

Threat to lock up more young teens

Heiress's 800,000 sapphire stolen

City to get first one-stop centre

Tories call for US-style sheriffs

Public to have say in policing

Families angry as council takes on young 'dealers'

Ministers order secret check on social disorder

Successful US commissioner earns Home Office brief to reform police

Attorney urges fraud crackdown

Police told to increase local accountability

Anonymity rule for rape suspects

Police seek DNA record of everyone

Simon Jeffery
Monday September 8, 2003
The Guardian

Senior police officers will call this week for the the national database of 2m DNA samples to be extended to everyone in the country.

Kevin Morris, chairman of the Police Superintendent's Association, said its annual conference would urge the home secretary, David Blunkett, to debate the issue.

He said a compulsory database would enable the police to solve crimes more quickly, and prevent them happening.

Such a move would bring fierce opposition from civil liberties groups and campaigners against handing this kind of information to the state.

But on a linked issue a YouGov opinion poll showed that more than three-quarters of those polled supported the introduction of a national identity card.

A quarter of respondents felt the cards would reduce their sense of freedom and two thirds said they believed that criminals would soon learn how to forge them.

Mr Morris suggested that the public would be happy to come forward and volunteer their genetic code.

"Experience has shown that the general public come forward in their thousands when they believe their sample will help police to detect a serious crime," he told the Times.

Britain's DNA database, the world's first, added its two-millionth sample in July. Genetic profiles are taken from those charged with criminal offences.

But provisions in the criminal justice bill will allow the police to take DNA from anyone they arrest.

There are fears that insurance companies might use DNA profiles to assess the genetic risks of policy holders.

The controversy over identity cards reappeared at the weekend when it was reported that the chancellor, Gordon Brown, and John Prescott, the deputy prime minister, had joined forces to oppose Mr Blunkett on the introduction of the cards.

Ministers have questioned the scheme's cost and its political acceptability.

Special reports
Gun violence in Britain

The issue explained
22.02.2002: Police reform

Useful links
Metropolitan police
Police Federation
Victim support
Firearms manual - Association of Chief Police Officers
The Police Superintendents' Association

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