Sun, 17 Dec 2006

Turning Britain into a nation of suspects - 2

(Turning Britain into a nation suspect - 1)

Joan Ryan (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office) provided the following written answer on 11 December 2006:
The National DNA Database (NDNAD) records the DNA profile for a particular individual. It does not hold data on arrest and criminal records. This information is held on the police national computer (PNC). The facilities do not exist to cross-refer between all records on the NDNAD and PNC to the level of detail that would be required to provide the information sought.

However, we can say that information provided by the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) from the PNC indicated that as at 14 July 2006, when there were approximately 3,457,000 individuals on the database, 2,922,624 of these persons also had an entry on PNC. Of these, 2,317,555 (79.3 per cent.) had a conviction or caution (i.e. a criminal record). The difference between the two figures is attributable to: young persons under 18 who have a formal warning or reprimand recorded on PNC; persons who have been charged with a recordable offence where proceedings are on-going; and persons who have been arrested for a recordable offence but no further action was taken.
In other words, 1,139,445 of the entries in the DNAD as of last July were for persons never having been found guilty of any crime. A third (32.96%) of the DNAD entries are for innocents.

This also likely mean that previous written answers were a huge understatement and innacurate. For instance Andy Burnham (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office) claimed in March 2006:
As indicated in the answer of 20 December 2005, Official Report, column 2890W, there were 139,463 people who have a DNA profile on the National DNA Database (NDNAD) who have not been charged or cautioned with an offence. This figure comprised 124,347 people who have been arrested and subsequently not been charged or cautioned with an offence and 15,116 people who had volunteered a sample and given consent to the profile being loaded on the NDNAD.
...and John Reid (Home Secretary), not even two months ago, in October 2006 was stating:
It is not currently possible to determine how many of the 124,347 "CJ arrestees" (persons with a DNA profile on the National DNA Database who have been arrested and subsequently not charged or cautioned with an offence) have never been convicted of an offence. [...] The figures might suggest that the remaining 100,828 persons have never been charged, reported for summons or sanctioned for any offence.
The number of innocents in the NDNAD in a year has gone from 139,463 (Andy Burnham) to 100,828 (John Reid), to eventually more than an eightfold to 1,139,445 (Joan Ryan). Is it alright for the Parliament and us to be misled with such contradictory figures?

(Latest figures via Reid 'buries' news that police hold DNA of 1m innocent people via More than a million innocent people now on the National DNA Database)

More on the NDNAD in Is the UK a police state?

websiteblogblog archivenews feedfeedback