By James Slack
300 children a day added to DNA database: 400,000 under-15s on Big Brother roll
More than 300 children a day have their DNA taken by the police and added to the national database.
Already 412,670 youngsters under 15 have their genetic profiles stored.
Once 15 to 17-year-olds are added, the total rises to an astonishing 1.1million, according to Freedom of Information replies revealed yesterday.
The DNA samples, from children as young as ten, are kept regardless of whether or not they were ever charged.
Critics accuse the police of arresting entire groups of youngsters simply to have their DNA to checked against evidence from crime scenes in future.
This year alone, police forces have taken DNA from 54,311 subjects aged 10 to 17.
There are around five million people on the DNA database – making it the largest in the world. Of these, at least 850,000 are innocents who have never been convicted of any crime. On this basis, around 200,000 of the children on the database will be innocent.
The samples were taken under rules introduced by Tony Blair which allow suspects to be swabbed as soon as they are arrested.
The Metropolitan Police is the worst culprit, stockpiling DNA from 144,487 young people over the last decade. The force takes DNA from thirteen children under 15 every day.
Liberal Democrat spokesman Chris Huhne said: ‘Innocent people should be removed from the database immediately and kids should stop being targeted to boost numbers.
Any child convicted of a serious offence will remain on the database indefinitely – as will adults – but youngsters convicted of only one minor offence will be deleted when they turn 18.
Those wrongly accused of a minor crime will also have their DNA removed at 18. but children accused, but not convicted, of a serious crime will have theirs stored for 12 years.
There will also be a ‘two strikes and you’re out’ policy, where children accused twice of minor offences will remain on the database for at least six years – even if they are cleared both times.
Helen Wallace, director of campaign group Genewatch UK, said: ‘An excessive number of children and young people are being added to the database and there is no evidence it is helping to solve serious crimes. The numbers should be significantly reduced and innocent people removed.’