Child DNA database grows - but not in Scotland


Child DNA database grows - but not in Scotland

Rebecca Thomson

The number of children held on the English and Welsh DNA database has grown by 20,000 in a year, while Scotland's database continues to hold only a small number of under-18s.

A Scottish parliamentary answer showed that there are 1,167 under-18s on the Scottish database, compared to 320,841 in England and Wales. The English and Welsh figure has risen since last year, when 303,393 individual records for children were on it. Keeping children's profiles is one of the most controversial aspects of the DNA database.

The database has attracted plenty of criticism for keeping the DNA profiles of innocent people, as well as high numbers of under-18s. Critics say the database is an infringement of privacy and unfair on people who have never been convicted of a crime, but the UK government says the database has helped to solved crimes that would have otherwise been unsolved.

The European Court recently ruled that the UK's system of keeping the profiles of people not convicted of a crime was a breach of human rights. The government responded by limiting the amount of time people who are not convicted can be held on it - six years for most, and 12 years for those arrested for serious crimes.

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