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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Police DNA powers raise privacy concerns - at least in UK

Short posts, on holidays.

NSW Police Commissioner, Ken Moroney, recently made news with his suggestion that the Police should be able to keep a database of DNA of those found innocent of a crime. He was commenting about a Government decision to give the Police powers to demand DNA samples of suspects arrested for any offence, not just serious crimes. Despite apparent Government willingness to confer the powers, the Commissioner decried any intention to use DNA sampling for minor crimes.

Last week this issue made the news in the UK where a proposal for similar police powers is under consideration. In this report, The Daily Telegraph says that the whole issue of the national DNA database, now with a record of 4 million samples, is to be the subject of an inquiry but the UK Human Genetics Commission.

One of the major concerns is police power to collect samples for people arrested for minor offences, such as dropping litter or ignoring a road sign - the sort of thing that sounds possible in the light of the proposed NSW legislation. But relax folks, the Police Commissioner (who retires shortly) says the police won't use the powers for such things. Phew....

In this opinion piece on Saturday, Sam Leith explains why the police shouldn't have powers to take DNA samples from those charged with minor crimes, or to keep samples from those found innocent. Leith says just because the police give you a ticket if you don't pick up the dog poo shouldn't mean that your DNA is held indefinitely on a national database.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:17 am

    Greetings my name is Kevin Reynolds arrested for the awful murder of Sally Bowman by Metropolitan Police Service here in UK. Check out some details of this investigation they don’t like to publicise and how Metropolitan Police arrest innocent people for murder, indecent assault and robbery even when they are already on the DNA register

    Post from my Member of Parliament on my courageous arrest: