DNA profiles of innocent people will be held on databases for over a decade under plans that take us closer to being a Big Brother state, it was claimed last night.
The plans were announced by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith yesterday. They fly in the face of Europe’s Court of Human Rights, which ruled last year Britain was acting illegally by keeping innocent people’s profiles indefinitely.
Labour wants to store samples for people accused of sexual or serious violent offences for 12 years.
Any innocent person falsely accused of lesser crimes will stay on the database for six years. Last night Liberal Democrat spokesman Chris Huhne slammed the proposals as “Orwellian”.
And civil liberties groups have threatened legal action.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, reportedly said: “With regret we shall be forced to see Ms Smith in court once more.”
Mr Huhne accused the Government of fighting an “undignified rearguard action” to give as little as possible to the European court.
He added: “The estimated 925,000 innocents on the database should not have to fight another case in Europe to establish their freedom from an Orwellian state.”
Ms Smith defended the database as a vital crime-fighting tool.
She said: “We know it has provided matches for a significant number of serious crimes as well as providing matches for less serious crimes that cause great concern to victims, such as burglary.”
But Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: “The Government just doesn’t get this.
“People in Britain should be innocent until proven guilty.”
In Scotland profiles of people not charged are deleted after three years unless police object.