23 Sep 2019
Two men from Sheffield, known as S and Marper, have won a victory after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that keeping their DNA on the National DNA Database breached their human rights.The Nuffield Council on Bioethics concluded in 2007 that the police should not keep DNA samples of people who have not been convicted until there is clear evidence that this helps tackle crime.“We agree wholeheartedly with this ruling,” said Hugh Whittall, Director of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. “The DNA of innocent people should not be kept by police. People feel it is an invasion of their privacy, and there is no evidence that removing from the DNA database people who have not been charged or convicted will lead to serious crimes going undetected. The Government now has an obligation to bring its own policies into line.”“DNA evidence is extremely important in many areas of criminal justice, but more evidence is needed about the contribution of retained profiles and samples. Often-quoted statistics about ‘matches’ to previously unconvicted people on the database do not tell us whether these cases actually resulted in a conviction, or whether DNA evidence was essential to the case.”Find out more about the Council's report on the forensic use of bioinformation.