Welwyn Hatfield MP welcomes DNA database ruling

PUBLISHED: 16:36 09 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:12 26 October 2009

Grant Shapps MP, Shadow Housing Minister talks at the Conservative Party launch of their new initatives to the housing market, which include scraping the unpopular HIPs whilst keeping the EPCs, and to improve the process of moving home.
Photo/Anna Branthwaite
07-12-07

Grant Shapps MP, Shadow Housing Minister talks at the Conservative Party launch of their new initatives to the housing market, which include scraping the unpopular HIPs whilst keeping the EPCs, and to improve the process of moving home. Photo/Anna Branthwaite 07-12-07

A POLITICIAN has welcomed a landmark court judgment that holding DNA samples of innocent people is in breach of human rights laws. The European Court of Human Rights last week unanimously decided the UK Government had acted unlawfully by retaining samples

A POLITICIAN has welcomed a landmark court judgment that holding DNA samples of innocent people is in breach of human rights laws.

The European Court of Human Rights last week unanimously decided the UK Government had acted unlawfully by retaining samples from people - including children - with no criminal convictions on its National DNA database.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith immediately expressed "disappointment" at the ruling, but Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps said he believed the court had made the "right decision".

Mr Shapps, who has been campaigning for the past two years to get innocent children's DNA removed from the database, said: "I've been arguing for years that the database was being allowed to grow in a way that wasn't intended by the law that had been passed."

Mr Shapps, who set up the COND (Children Off National Database) campaign in response to the case of wrongly-arrested WGC teenager Jack Saywood, added he felt it would have been better if this "sensible decision" had been taken by the UK government.

"The DNA database is an excellent tool for fighting crime, but it needs to have public confidence," he said.

"Some high profile Welwyn Hatfield cases which involved young children being inadvertently added to the database were at the forefront of the battle to get Ministers to see sense over this issue.

"This should never have needed to go to court."

The judgment must be implemented by March, and it is understood no samples will be removed from the database until then.

Latest estimates suggest some 800,000 of the 5.1m samples on the DNA database are of people with no criminal record.

A spokesman for Herts police said it would follow instructions from the Association of Chief Police Officers, with regards to using DNA technology to protect the public and tackle crime.

For more information, including advice on how to get DNA removed from the database, visit Mr Shapps' campaign website at www.cond.org.uk


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