5,000 children a month added to DNA database

Christopher Hope

One in four people being added to the DNA database is a child, it emerged yesterday.

The figure provides further evidence that the Government’s “Big Brother” national database is increasingly targeting young people before they are old enough to vote.

Data obtained by the Liberal Democrats from Parliamentary Questions shows that the proportion of children being added is rising, with 5,000 being included every month.

Between October and January, 25 per cent of those added were 18 or younger, compared with less than 11 per cent of those already listed on it.

In total, 152,066 people were put on the database between October and January – 37,818 of whom were 18 or under.

Forecasts suggest that by next year one in 10 children will be included. The Daily Telegraph revealed last month that 44 children under 10 were on the database.

The news has prompted concerns from civil liberties campaigners that Britain is a “surveillance state”.

Liberal Democrat Justice spokesman Jenny Willott said: “There is something horribly Big Brotherish about a society that is adding over 5,000 kids a month to a DNA database when they’re not even old enough to get a National Insurance Number.

“These shocking figures demonstrate just how many children are being dragged into the criminal justice system by the Government.”

A Home Office spokesman said people who were innocent had nothing to fear.

“Under 18s make up approximately a quarter of all arrests, thus a comparable proportion of young persons’ profiles on the [database] should not be unexpected,” it said.