New police powers to store DNA

Daily Mail

Thousands of innocent people will be forced to undergo DNA tests under controversial powers handed today to police.

From this morning, officers will have the right to take genetic samples from people who are arrested, even if they are released without charge.

Their DNA profiles - taken from saliva obtained with a cheek swab - will then be retained indefinitely.

Tony Blair will today argue that giving police the powers is justified as a way of identifying more criminals and preventing suspects from giving false information about their identities.

But the move has infuriated civil liberties campaigners, who believe it is a step towards a "Big Brother" state.

Currently, police can take fingerprints and DNA samples only when a suspect has been charged or convicted.

At present there are more than two million DNA profiles on the national database.

Barry Hughill, of the civil rights group Liberty, said the changes raised fundamental questions for society. "Our concern has always been that DNA is not foolproof," he added. "The implications of something going wrong are Orwellian."

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now