Tory MP Damien Green has claimed a ‘small but significant victory for freedom’ as he has successfully campaigned to have his DNA records deleted from the national Police database. Damien Green is correct, this is a ‘small’ victory, but it’s hardly significant – the deletion of one DNA record, for entirely political reasons, is nowhere near far enough.
The Home Office seem very proud of their national DNA database, which isn’t surprising considering they have spent £300million (the equivalent of 10,000 police salaries) of our money developing it. This is probably why senior policemen have been told to continue logging the DNA of innocent people, despite a Human Rights ruling from the European Court. Their website boasts that our database is the largest in the world, holding the records of 5.2% of the population – Maybe this is a reflection of our governments inability to prevent crime, rather than their data collecting prowess.
The most fundamental problem with the DNA database as it stands is that there are around 850,000 records which should be deleted. These belong to people who were never convicted or tried and should therefore be considered innocent. It seems wholly against freedom and liberty for somebody’s DNA to be held on a database, accessible to many public servants just because a policeman considered them the ‘type of person’ that might one day commit a crime.
Not only is this expansion of this database an unnatural infliction upon our freedom, it is also an increasing security risk. This government’s track record of ensuring the security of individuals personal data is pathetic at best. Recent evidence suggests that DNA within blood and saliva can now be fabricated and cloned. This scientific advancement could eventually destroy the utility and reliability of DNA evidence in criminal investigations. Although this could prove to be a step backwards for policing, at least it may signal the end of the dreaded DNA database.