Londoners: have your say on civil liberties and DNA

The Metropolitan Police Authority Civil Liberties Panel held an open meeting at City Hall on Thursday 1 July to hear what individuals and campaigning organisations think about DNA in policing and the use of National DNA Database (NDNAD).

The meeting enabled participants, as well as those who could not attend but submitted written evidence, to voice their concerns about the current and future use of DNA.

Major themes which emerged during the meeting included:

  • DNA collection seems to have become an end in itself, a process to be completed irrespective of proportionality
  • there should be more transparency specifically about how the DNA database is managed
  • there is no formalised means by which innocent people can get their records removed from the DNA database
  • it can be a useful tool for detecting serious crimes – rape case prosecutions rely on DNA sampling. But there is a need for checks and balances to ensure it is used appropriately
  • DNA sampling has undermined community trust in the police – on the one hand they are trying to reach out and engage with young people while with the other they are stigmatizing the same groups by taking DNA during interactions
  • organisations are keeping separate databases and hiding behind FOI exemptions in order not to release more information
  • having DNA taken is perceived as invasive and a violation of the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty, compounded by the retention of the DNA sample and the difficulty of trying to get it removed from databases
  • retaining DNA samples of convicted criminals is completely different to keeping samples of innocent people who have not committed a crime
  • Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Dee Doocey, who sits on the panel, said afterwards:

    We all know that the use of DNA can be invaluable in policing, but there are some serious questions that need to be asked about when and how this data is retained. Today we heard from a large number of people who feel very strongly about this issue, including innocent people whose DNA has been kept on file. It seems that one of the major problems is the length of time it takes to get your DNA removed from the database, even if you are innocent and the police agree the profile doesn’t need to be kept.

    The Civil Liberties Panel is keen to hear from as many people as possible and comments can be sent to [email protected]
    or write to:

    Civil Liberties Panel, MPA, 10 Dean Farrar Street, London SW1H 0NY

    Please send your comments by 31st August 2010.

    The Civil Liberties Panel plans to publish their findings later this year.

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    This entry was posted in London.

    One Comment

    • people arested and recived caution at police station then relese from police station without court appearance ,that relesed person is innocent because court has to decide innocent or guilty.So these catagories peopes dna should be remove from police computer or police database, while police write on the caution paper that,the cation is not a criminal conviction then why the cation will be in police database with criminal .

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