Police to get power to store DNA samples

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The Independent Online

In a law and order bill being launched today, police are to be given significant new powers to store DNA profiles and fingerprints of people who have never been found guilty of a crime.

In a law and order bill being launched today, police are to be given significant new powers to store DNA profiles and fingerprints of people who have never been found guilty of a crime.

The Criminal Justice and Police Bill provides scope for massive increases in the national DNA database by allowing samples to be held indefinitely.

Information on members of the public who volunteer for mass DNA tests - such as during major rape or murder investigations - will also be able to be stored, providing they sign a consent form.

Currently DNA samples must be destroyed if no charges are brought or the person is acquitted.

Fingerprints will also be stored under the new Bill.

The plan was instantly opposed by civil liberties groups but Home Secretary Jack Straw insisted that the public would welcome the change as it will help police cut costs.

Mr Straw said the Home Office hopes to increase the national DNA database from its current one million samples to 3.5 million in the next three years, and the change in the law will contribute to that goal.

The Bill also includes other measures such as extending child curfews from 10-year-olds to 15-year-olds and a range of new police powers to deal with drink-related crime, including the ability to close disorderly clubs and pubs for up to 24 hours without notice.

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