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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

September 7, 2007: DNA Database Will Not Be Expanded

The Home Office has stated that comments made this week by Lord Chief Justice Sedley, who suggested that the national DNA database would be fairer were it to include everybody's DNA, including all residents and visitors to the UK, have raised concern among some members of the public. They have clarified Home Office policies on DNA information, explicitly stating that there are no plans to expand the database.

DNA samples obtained for analysis from the collection of DNA at crime scenes and from samples taken from individuals in police custody can be held in the National DNA database. The database is a police intelligence tool that helps to:

  • quickly identify offenders
  • make earlier arrests
  • secure more convictions
  • provide critical investigative leads for police investigations

The DNA database has revolutionised the way police protect the public, by helping to definitively identify or exonerate suspects, and then to secure convictions in court. DNA samples obtained for analysis from the collection of DNA at crime scenes and from samples taken from individuals in police custody can be held in the National DNA database.

The UK’s database is the largest of any country: 5.2% of the UK population is on the database compared with 0.5% in the USA. The database has expanded significantly over the last five years. By the end of 2005 over 3.4 million DNA profiles were held on the database – the profiles of the majority of the known active offender populationThis expansion and investment is being closely followed by Europe and America who are keen to emulate the crime-solving successes of the database.

Maintaining and developing the database is one of the government’s top priorities, with government and police investment of over £300million over the last five years. H

In the course of their investigations, the police in England and Wales find an average of 3,500 DNA matches each month in the database; this helps to ensure that the right people end up behind bars and justice is done more often. While DNA is tremendously helpful to crime investigators, the government has no plan to introduce a DNA database covering everyone.

In order to strike a complex - and fair - balance, the government are are currently reviewing the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE), which sets out the rules under which DNA information can be collected and stored. This review is designed to ensure that the law is fair, and that it maintains the crucial balance between the usefulness of evidence in police investigations, and the protection of individuals' rights.

As part of the review the government recently conducted a public consultation, and they plan to publish the final proposals for changes to the PACE codes in spring 2008.

A Home Office unit regulates the DNA database. This work is overseen by a board composed of the Home Office, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Association of Police Authorities. The Human Genetics Commission are also represented on the board, and there are plans to establish an ethics group to contribute and offer advice.

In 2005-06 45,000 crimes were matched against records on the DNA Database; including 422 homicides (murders and manslaughters) and 645 rapes.