The Liberal Democrats have described as “disturbing and illiberal” the policy of keeping the DNA profiles of children who have not been convicted of any offence.
Home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg was speaking after a parliamentary written answer revealed that there are almost 150,000 under-16s on the national database.
“These figures underline the shocking extent to which this database has intruded, often without parental consent, into the lives of our children,” he said.
“Thousands of these children will have been found guilty of no crime, yet samples of their DNA will remain on file for life.
“The disturbing and illiberal policy of adding a child’s most personal information to a massive government computer system, simply on the grounds of an accusation, must stop immediately.”
Under the current system, the DNA of a suspect remains on the database even if the individual is not convicted of any crime.
And urging the government to “come up with a proportionate and sensible way of using this technology”, Clegg warned against the “unfair scatter-gun approach that currently prevails”.