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Watchdog attacks plan to hold innocents’ DNA

Robert Verkaik
London Independent [1]
Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ministers’ proposals to hold DNA records of those falsely accused of crimes for up to 12 years has been attacked by Britain’s human rights watchdog for being unlawful and based on unreliable research.

The intervention by the Equality and Human Rights Commission leaves the Government and police forces isolated in their determination to hold a database which includes records of suspects who have been cleared of any crime. Yesterday the Law Society of England and Wales also added its voice to the critics of the Government’s plans. The Commission believes further changes are required to the way DNA profiles are stored and used by the state. Under the proposals, even if someone has not been charged with committing a crime, their DNA profile can be kept for up to 12 years.

John Wadham, legal group director at the Commission, said: “Britain is at the cutting edge of how this technology is used in fighting crime, but it must be used lawfully.”

The commission also calls into question the validity of the research used to support the proposals, noting that the evidence has been criticised by other experts.

Full article here [1]