The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) ignored a disc sent by Dutch police to check the DNA records of 2,000 of their dangerous wanted criminals against records in the British police DNA database, for over a year.
The Dutch police asked the UK in January 2007 to see if any of their suspects, whose DNA details were contained on a compact disc sent to the CPS, were in Britain. According to news reports, investigations began last week showed there were 15 matches 11 were connected to recent crimes, including rape and murder, in the UK.
The BBC reported the disc had been left in the desk of an officer while he was on sick leave.
The CPS said in a statement, "We can confirm that DNA profiles of around 2,000 unknown individuals were sent by a foreign jurisdiction to the CPS to facilitate a check against the national DNA database. These are profiles relating to unsolved crimes in that country. This is not a data security issue as this information was always in a secure building and did not leave the possession of the CPS."
A Home Office spokesman said, "As this information relates to ongoing police investigations it would be inappropriate to provide any more detail at this stage."
Similar exchanges of DNA and other personal data, including vehicle ownership, takes place regularly between the law enforcement agencies of signatories to the Prüm Treaty.
With over 4.5 million DNA records, the UK police DNA database is the world's largest such store of information. It includes the records of more than half a million people who have never been charged with a crime.