In a recent statement regarding the government practice of storing the DNA of anyone questioned by the police for use in DNA Tests; Shadow Home Secretary, Chris Grayling has said, ‘This government is making the state far too intrusive in our society.’

The Conservative Party has gone on to say that the DNA records of innocent people should be deleted from the national database because the practice is illegal and morally wrong.

Writing on Comment is Free on, Grayling said that allowing the government to store the DNA data of anyone questioned by the police “represents an unacceptable extension of the power of the state at a time when this government is making the state far too intrusive in our society“.

The DNA data of around 5 million people is stored on our national DNA database,” he goes on to say, “Almost one in 10 of the population and a substantial proportion of those people have never been convicted of any crime … Much of that data will be stored indefinitely – often against the wishes of those whose data it is. That is an unacceptable extension of what is increasingly becoming a surveillance society.”

A ruling last year by the European Court of Human Rights made it illegal to hold DNA samples taken by police during an investigation. When asked to respond to the ruling, Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, ordered all profiles of young children to be removed immediately and declared that time limits would be introduced in connection with DNA stored from those not convicted of a crime.

This has not appeased the Tory MP who went on to accuse ministers of “dithering”. He added that whilst he could not argue against the importance DNA plays in criminal investigations, storing it indefinitely could not be justified.

Date : April 2009

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