Hertfordshire Constabulary still has no answers on DNA more than a year on
PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 July 2013
HERTFORDSHIRE police have revealed they does not hold details about DNA harvesting of suspects - after more than a year of questions from the Welwyn Hatfield Times.
It is now more than 12 months since this newspaper asked whether the force had a system of distinguishing DNA profiles of those convicted from those that are either not charged or acquitted.
The question was prompted by new rules, which meant DNA samples from those not charged or found guilty had to be deleted.
That query was met with the response: “There is no system that would fulfil the specific function relating to your request.”
Last July, Herts Police were asked whether deletion of DNA samples of those neither charged nor found guilty had begun.
No answer was then given.
Last June, the force was asked the estimated cost of destroying samples and, again, no answer was available.
The issue came into sharp focus in May this year, when it was revealed the constabulary had taken an average of 17 samples a week from children.
The latest figures available for Hertfordshire showed during 2011, 912 samples were taken from children.
The previous year 1,189 samples were taken.
In May this newspaper asked for a detailed breakdown of the sample collection, but we were told to submit the query under the Freedom of Information Act.
The force was asked to provide details of DNA samples taken from people under 17 years old, for 2011, 2012 and May 21, 2013, by Hertfordshire Constabulary.
It was also asked to give an age breakdown of each person, as well as their sex and location.
The official response read: “Following enquiries within the constabulary, I am unable to provide the specific information requested.”
Finally police admitted they never had the inform- ation requested in the first place.
Dick Johnson, head of scientific services, said: “The database is kept and maintained at a national level and not by Hertfordshire Constabulary.”
He said, in accordance with the Protection of Freedoms Act (PoFA), that “many of the profiles are in the process of being deleted” and the constabulary had “fulfilled all its obligations”.
But he said: “We cannot comment on the progress of that deletion process nationally.”