Fury at Labour MPs ‘Orwellian’ tactics over DNA database vote

Liverpool Daily Post | LABOUR MPs were accused of “Orwellian” tactics last night after voting to make it all-but impossible for innocent people to remove their DNA from the national database.

Opposition parties reacted with fury after the Government overturned a Lords amendment that would have forced the Home Office to issue specific guidelines to help the innocent strip out their profiles.

The vote came just days after the Daily Post revealed a seven-year-old Merseyside child had its DNA added to the database — a move condemned by civil liberties campaign groups.

Merseyside police chiefs said it had been held because of “extraordinary circumstances”, but later ordered the details to be removed.

Almost one in ten people in Merseyside have their genetic profile stored, around one quarter of whom have not been convicted, or cautioned, with any offence.

The law allows the police to take DNA samples from anyone who has been arrested — and store their samples permanently, even if they are acquitted.

Most concern centres on the profiles of nearly 40,000 children in Britain, including 3,555 under-16s from Merseyside and a further 2,452 from Cheshire.

Two weeks ago, the House of Lords backed a Conservative amendment calling for the Counter-Terrorism Bill to be redrafted to include specific guidelines on DNA removal.

Damien Green, a Tory home affairs spokesman, said the draconian rules gave police only a single example where a person’s DNA would be considered for destruction. This would be where a person died in a multi-occupancy house and everyone else was arrested on suspicion of murder. If it later transpired the person died of natural causes, only then would other residents have a case for removal.

Mr Green said: “I think MPs will recognise that this is an absurdity and clearly these guidelines in themselves are not an acceptable way to proceed.”

But, yesterday, the amendment was easily overturned with a government majority of 68.

Chris Huhne, for the Liberal Democrats, said: “This Orwellian government has turned down the opportunity to give innocent people the rights they fully deserve.”