Ahead of today’s European Court of Human Rights ruling on whether two innocent men should be removed from the DNA database, the Liberal Democrats have revealed that 40% of Britain’s criminals escape inclusion on the database.
Research by the party revealed that:
> More than 2.3 million criminals, 41.6% of all criminals with a record on the Police National Computer, are not on the DNA database
> There are over 850,000 people on the DNA database who have no criminal record
> Since the database was created, more than a million children have been added to it, including over 340,000 who remain under 18
> The number of crimes solved using DNA evidence fell by nearly 12% last year
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, Chris Huhne said:
“The Government’s policy is both shambolic and grotesquely unfair.
“Because it has proved easier to target kids and the innocent than criminals, the enormous increase in DNA samples has not led to a corresponding increase in convictions.
“Nobody who committed a crime before 2001 and who has evaded arrest since then will have their records on the computer, so many real crooks are avoiding detection.
“The random growth of the database is due to a policy of incompetence combined with intrusiveness. The police should target former criminals, not the innocent.
“All the innocent people on the database will be outraged that they are being treated worse than nearly half of all convicted criminals.
“Ministers should focus on tracking down the serious offenders not on the database, rather than preying on the vulnerable and the lawful.”
The figures came in answers to Parliamentary Questions.
The most up to date figures show that there were 2,324,879 people with a record on the Police National Computer (PNC) in England and Wales who had a conviction, caution, reprimand or final warning, but no record on the DNA database:
There are 3,259,347 people on the DNA database who have had a conviction, caution, formal warning or reprimand recorded on the PNC:
2,324,879 + 3,259,347 = 5,584,226 people have a conviction, caution, formal warning or reprimand recorded on the PNC. 41.6% of those (2,324,879/5,584,226) have no record on the DNA database.
857,366 people on the database do not have a current criminal record on the PNC:
Since the DNA database was created, 1,066,896 profiles of people aged under-18 have been added. This is nearly a quarter of the total. There are currently 344,339 children on the database:
The number of crimes solved by DNA evidence fell by 11.7% last year, from 19,949 crimes (0.37% of all recorded crime) in 2006/07 to 17,614 crimes (0.36% of all recorded crime) in 2007/08. This is down from a peak of 21,098 detections involving DNA evidence in 2002/03: