Innocents to be kept for 12 years on DNA database

Information on innocent people could be kept for up to 12 years on the DNA database under plans announced today.

The modified plans will see...

Information on innocent people could be kept for up to 12 years on the DNA database under plans announced today.

The modified plans will see thousands of innocent people kept for six years, with the time limit extended for those who were arrested for serious crimes.

The DNA database holds the profiles of everyone convicted of a crime. It also has details of those arrested, but not convicted, of a crime.

The Home Office argues that it helps police convict people if their DNA is found, and can be identified, at the scene of a serious crime.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled last year that the UK database infringes human rights. Two men whose profiles were retained after an arrest took the case to Strasbourg, and the judges ruled that holding the information "could not be necessary in a democratic society".

The government has revised its policy in response, and will not keep the profiles of innocent people for longer than 12 years.

But privacy campaigners are not happy with the government's new plans, saying those without convictions should not have their details kept for such a long time.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil liberties group Liberty, said, "This well-spun proposal proves that the Home Secretary has yet to learn about the presumption of innocence and value of personal privacy in Britain. Wholly innocent people - including children will have their most intimate details stockpiled for years on a database that will remain massively out of step with the rest of the world. With regret we shall be forced to see her in court once more."

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