If the police take a DNA sample, even if one is not charged, it can be kept up to 12 years. This doesn’t happen in other countries, not even Scotland. There, DNA can be taken only if you are arrested.
If you are cleared, the profile is immediately destroyed unless you have been cleared of a violent or sexual offence – in which case the sample can be kept for up to five years. What Harman is arguing for already contravenes EU legislation and we will simply end up with more test cases in the European courts.
Meanwhile, the European Court of Human Rights says that some 850,000 DNA profiles of innocent people should be removed from our database.
So maybe we should listen to Sir Alec Jeffreys, the guy who invented DNA fingerprinting. He is now concerned that this system is being used to cast a shadow of criminality over people who have committed no crime.