The government is threatening to drop proposals to limit the storage of innocent citizens' DNA to a period of six years, as time runs out to pass the Crime and Security Bill before the general election on 6 May.
The threat comes as the main political parties argue over the key issue of how long the DNA of those arrested but not convicted of a crime is stored on a central database.
DNA information on innocent suspects is currently held indefinitely, which the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have opposed and which the European Court of Human Rights declared illegal 18 months ago.
However, the Tories and Lib Dems are unhappy with Labour's six-year proposal. The Tories prefer a system similar to Scotland's, in which everyone except those accused of violent and sexual crimes have their DNA records removed immediately.
The Lib Dems have also voiced concerns, claiming that the database holds around 4.5 million entries, accounting for over seven per cent of the population and including 100,000 children aged under 13.
Home secretary Alan Johnson was reported today in The Guardian as saying that he is prepared to drop the six-year retention plans and make the major parties' differences an election issue.
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