National DNA Database continues to expand - updated

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The National DNA Database Expansion Programme figures have been published by the Home Office. The report is available online: DNA Expansion Programme 2000-2005: Reporting Achievement (.pdf)

It has been analysed somewhat by the BBC

Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 January 2006, 11:21 GMT

DNA database continues to swell

More than 3 million samples are in the DNA database
The number of samples held on the DNA database will rise to 4.25 million within two years, the Home Office says.

There are three million samples held at the moment, with some of the expansion due to law changes in 2001 and 2004.

[...]

Police can now track down offenders by matching samples with other family members who may be on the database.

The report does not provide any analysis of how many children's DNA samples are held on the NDNAD,

There are a couple of recent Parliamentary Answers on the subject, which reveal that 685,748 of the DNA records on the National DNA Database have been collected from children between the ages of 10 and 17 i.e. about 23 percent of the total, and are set to be retained for the rest of their lives (assuming that the table of figures given is not cumulative)

However, the controversial changes in the law which allow for the retention of DNA tissue samples, anaysed DNA "fingerprints" profiles and conventional fingerprints, even from the

139,463 people who have a DNA profile on the national DNA database (NDNAD) who have not been charged or cautioned with an offence.

do not seem to have yielded very impressive results so far according to the report:

15. Since the legal change that took place in 2001, it is estimated that approximately 198,000 profiles that would previously have been removed have been retained on the Database. Of these, at 31 March 2005, 7,591 profiles have been matched with crime scene samples involving 10,754 offences. These offences include 88 murders, 45 attempted murders, 116 rapes, 62 sexual offences, 91 aggravated burglaries and 94 of the supply of controlled drugs.

Remember that for a person to be "linked with a crime scene" does not mean that all or in fact most of these crimes have in any sense been "solved".

18. Some monitoring work has been undertaken by the DNA & Fingerprint Retention Project Team on the impact of arrestee sampling; this was based on data from 12 forces that are fully utilising the new powers. It has been identified that 43% of arrested persons are not proceeded against and ‘no further action’ is taken. Sampling arrestees who are not proceeded against has yielded over 250 profiles of individuals that have been linked with crime scene samples. These links to earlier offences may never have been made if the power under the 2003 Act to take a DNA sample on arrest had not been implemented. The earlier offences linked to these 250 criminal justice (CJ) arrestee profiles include: four murder/manslaughters, three rapes, six robberies, four sexual offences, five of the supply of controlled drugs and 98 burglary offences.

This does not appear to be overwhelming evidence that justifies the retention of thousands of innocent people's DNA samples.

UPDATE:

A new figure about the current number of Children on the DNA database who had not been charged or cautioned for any offence was given by Home Office Minister Andy Burns in a Parliamentary Answer on 16th January 2006

On 1 December the original question asked:
"How many people under 18 years have DNA profiles stored in the police national database without having been charged or cautioned for any offence?"

It was not then possible to provide the answer. A transitional solution provided by the police now enables this information to be compiled, though not as easily as the proposed PNC-national DNA database linkage would permit. On 1 December 2005 there were around 24,000 DNA person profiles on the DNA database which related to persons under 18 who had not been charged or cautioned for any offence.

15 Comments

Hmm. Is there anything in the report about, say, the average cost of taking and retaining a DNA sample? Multiply that across all 198,000 retained records, divide by 120 total offences and you get the average cost per investigation helped by DNA retention. Even assuming a rather generous £100 per sample (about the cost of a paternity test online), that's £165,000 per crime, which strikes me as an awful lot, considering a little over 80% of them are burglaries.

Now remind me who Blunkett was accepting directorships from...

"Now remind me who Blunkett was accepting directorships from..."

A company that's going down the tubes, if it hasn't already, hoorah. I find it vaguely comforting that this New Labour shower seems unable even to accept money for nothing without buggering it up. (-:

Good thing we haven't let them have free reign to recreate the Middle East or anything, isn't it.

It's a sign of authoritarian regimes the world over that they're brought down by internal favouritism and promotion of blatantly sycophantic incompetents. Watch for Hazel Blears getting a Cabinet chair any day soon...

:)

BBC report quote:

"Suspects arrested over any imprisonable offence can have their DNA held even if they are acquitted."

I thought the police were falling over themselves to DNA test eveyone arrested, even if it's for the most trivial of reasons. Anyone know the actual situation? Perhaps they ask arestees to "volunteer" to be DNA'd for the trivia?

@ A Tench - according to one of the the Parliamentary Answers cited above:


Andy Burnham: There are 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 comprises: 124,347 people who have a DNA profile on the NDNAD who have been arrested and subsequently not been charged or cautioned with an offence. This information was provided by the Police nformation Technology Organisation (PITO) and obtained from the police national computer (PNC) which is linked to the NDNAD; and 15,116 volunteer sample profile records retained on the NDNAD.


A volunteer sample is a DNA sample taken from an individual in relation to the investigation of an offence for elimination purposes and not as a result of the individual having been arrested in connection with an offence. The volunteer must give written consent to provide the sample; and can also volunteer to have their DNA profile held on the database by providing separate written consent for this. Volunteer samples may be taken from, for example, the victim of a crime, a third party, a member of a population identified for an intelligence-led screen or from an individual at their request.

N.B. once you have given your permission as a "volunteer", this permission cannot be subsequently revoked.

Technically DNA sampling is allowed for any "recordable offence" i.e. anything with a theoretical maximum of a prison sentence, even if a fine is what is usually imposed.

Remember that since all offences are now arrestabale, it will probably be the case that DNA samples will be taken as a matter of course by the "system", regardless of whether they should have been in petty cases.

Anyone who volunteers a DNA sample is clearly stupid.

Another point on this one, just reported on ITN's review of tomorrow's papers:

One in three black men are on the NDNAD, whereas only one in ten white men are. The detailed stats on this would be interesting -

arrest breakdown by ethnic group

arrests not resulting in charge, by ethnic group

arrests not resulting in conviction, by ethnic group

We all know how politicians are desperate not be viewed as singling out minorities, so maybe they'll rein in the police when it comes to DNA testing for trivial "offences". Then again, the message might go out not to arrest so many black people.

@ Tom - do you have inside information on Hazel Blears promotion prospects ?

The Scotsman reports this Thursday 5th January 2006:

It is likely that Hazel Blears, a junior Home Office minister, will be promoted to the Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and given charge of co-ordinating the Respect plans.

Sadly not, I just spotted a mention late last year somewhere that she was 'tipped for a Cabinet seat' and it stuck in my mind. I've been mulling over a website parodying Blairwatch called 'Blearswatch' for some time - the woman has so got under my skin that my two year old now frequently shouts 'Shut Up Blears' at the radio. If there's been a thicker, more arrogant minister of state in recent years I'll be very surprised. Perfect New Labour promotion material, in other words.

You might add Meg Munn to your list of arrogant Labour women liable for promotion...

Personal experience: I was taken in for questioning as a suspect for a recordable offence. I told the police that I objected to having my DNA taken as I knew that I was innocent of the crime, but that if I was found guilty then fair enough - take it. I was told that they could and would take a sample by force if necessary, which would involve ripping some of the hair out of my scalp whilst being held down. I eventually gave my consent, but it seems to me to be rather 1984-esque. I was subsequently not charged with anything. The reason the holocaust was so devastating was that the German government was so efficient at keeping records of it's citizens. I think this is more than a worry.

Hello: Can you help me with RIPA? I saw in a schedule of the Act a list of authorised organisations who would have access to internet histories - is it true to say that council officials could call for access to a citizen's internet records? Best, Simon

@ Simon - the bits of Local Councils which make most use of RIPA are the Trading Standards and Environmental Health departments.

They are not on the list of organisations which can request the content of electromic communications, but they can ask for some Communications Traffic Data in support of the enforcement of their Statutory Duties.

This is not usually web server logfiles etc. but much more likely to be mobile phone or email address Subscriber Records, when they are trying to investigate , say, a Dodgy Car Dealer or a fly tipping Waste Disposal company, which advertises itself in the local newspaper or posters and flyers etc.

That is not to say that the Local Party In Power , will not attempt to abuse these powers, to try to identify and track down someone who has , for example, created a blog or discussion forum , or just posted a message to one, which is critical of Local Council politicians or Officials or People with Influence e.g. a whistleblower or a local campaign organiser.

See the libel threats against the Ilkley Rocks blog for opposing a Local CCTV surveillance scheme.

Trading Standards and EH always had these sort of powers

RIPA has cut them back (after all it is to do with the regulation of powers provided elsewhere, not the provision of powers

I have composed a dissertation on the DNA database rights obligations powers and restraints.
I am still an undergraduate but would willingly heir your bad criticisms on my dissertation.
Any one interested in reading and commenting please feel free to ask/ email me and i will reply with a copy of the Dissertation 40 something pages and theres pictures aswell. :D

Harris Petridou-Sharpe i would be very interested in reading you DNA database dissertaion

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Recent Comments

  • Vicki W: Harris Petridou-Sharpe i would be very interested in reading you read more
  • Harris Petridou-Sharpe: I have composed a dissertation on the DNA database rights read more
  • Ian: Trading Standards and EH always had these sort of powers read more
  • wtwu: @ Simon - the bits of Local Councils which make read more
  • simon carr: Hello: Can you help me with RIPA? I saw in read more
  • Dave: Personal experience: I was taken in for questioning as a read more
  • jymjim: You might add Meg Munn to your list of arrogant read more
  • Tom: Sadly not, I just spotted a mention late last year read more
  • wtwu: @ Tom - do you have inside information on Hazel read more
  • A Tench: Anyone who volunteers a DNA sample is clearly stupid. Another read more

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UK Legislation

The United Kingdom suffers from tens of thousands of pages of complicated criminal laws, and thousands of new, often unenforceable criminal offences, which have been created as a "Pretend to be Seen to Be Doing Something" response to tabloid media hype and hysteria, and political social engineering dogmas. These overbroad, catch-all laws, which remove the scope for any judicial appeals process, have been rubber stamped, often without being read, let alone properly understood, by Members of Parliament.

The text of many of these Acts of Parliament are now online, but it is still too difficult for most people, including the police and criminal justice system, to work out the cumulative effect of all the amendments, even for the most serious offences involving national security or terrorism or serious crime.

Many MPs do not seem to bother to even to actually read the details of the legislation which they vote to inflict on us.

UK Legislation Links

UK Statute Law Database - is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom made available online, but it is not yet up to date.

UK Commissioners

UK Commissioners some of whom are meant to protect your privacy and investigate abuses by the bureaucrats.

UK Intelligence Agencies

Intelligence and Security Committee - the supposedly independent Parliamentary watchdog which issues an annual, heavily censored Report every year or so. Currently chaired by the Conservative Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Why should either the intelligence agencies or the public trust this committee, when the untrustworthy ex-Labour Minister Hazel Blears is a member ?

Anti-terrorism hotline - links removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

MI5 Security Service
MI5 Security Service - links to encrypted reporting form removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

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Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

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Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure - "CPNI provides expert advice to the critical national infrastructure on physical, personnel and information security, to protect against terrorism and other threats."

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Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

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Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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National Crime Agency - the replacement for the Serious Organised Crime Agency

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Defence Advisory (DA) Notice system - voluntary self censorship by the established UK press and broadcast media regarding defence and intelligence topics via the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee.

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

It is not just the UK government which tries to snoop on British companies, organisations and individuals, the rest of the world is constantly trying to do the same, regardless of the mixed efforts of our own UK Intelligence Agencies who are paid to supposedly protect us from them.

For no good reason, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office only keeps the current version of the London Diplomatic List of accredited Diplomats (including some Foreign Intelligence Agency operatives) online.

Presumably every mainstream media organisation, intelligence agency, serious organised crime or terrorist gang keeps historical copies, so here are some older versions of the London Diplomatic List, for the benefit of web search engine queries, for those people who do not want their visits to appear in the FCO web server logfiles or those whose censored internet feeds block access to UK Government websites.

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

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FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution - Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

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Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

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Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

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Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

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Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

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Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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Cracking the Black Box - "aims to expose technology that is being used in inappropriate ways. We hope to bring together the insights of experts and whistleblowers to shine a light into the dark recesses of systems that are responsible for causing many of the privacy problems faced by millions of people."

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Open Rights Group - Petition against the renewal of the Interception Modernisation Programme

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WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers