The influential House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has published a new report urging the government to rethink its policy of retaining personal DNA information indefinitely.
The report said that there is no available proof for the success rate of using the stored personal DNA profiles of those not convicted of a crime, and that it may be unwise to keep it for so long.
The Committee explained that there are five million people profiled on the database, a fifth of whom had never been convicted, cautioned, reprimanded or given a final warning by the police.
"The current situation of indefinite retention of the DNA profiles of those arrested but not convicted is impossible to defend in light of the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights, and is unacceptable in principle," said the report.
At present, the government is proposing the retention period for DNA records to be cut to six years. However, the Committee argued it was "not convinced" that such a period would "result in more cases being cleared up - let alone more convictions obtained - than retaining them for three years".
The Committee added that it had asked justice secretary Jack Straw to provide details of some cases that had been solved with the help of stored DNA information, but had not received a reply.
Individuals contacted by the Committee had expressed concerns about the impact on their lives of being on the database.
"A significant number of people never convicted of a crime are unhappy about their profiles being kept indefinitely on the database," the report said.
"They consider it a slur on their character and personally intrusive, and are worried about the possibility of false matching of a crime to their profile or malicious hacking into the database."
Also yesterday, the government defeated a Tory amendment to the Crime and Security bill which proposed the retention of DNA samples for three years when people are arrested for a sexual or violent offence.
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