The forensic use of bioinformation: ethical issues
The Council would like to thank everyone who contributed to the consultation on the forensic use of bioinformation. The responses reflected diverse views and provided useful and interesting information.
The paper provides background information and poses a number of specific questions. For example:
- Do you consider the current criteria for the collection of bioinformation to be proportionate to the aims of preventing, investigating, detecting and prosecuting criminal offences?
- Is it acceptable for bioinformation to be taken from minors and for their DNA profiles to be put on the NDNAD?
- What, if any, research on NDNAD profiles or samples should be permitted?
- Certain groups, such as ethnic minorities and young males, are disproportionately represented on forensic databases. Is this potential for bias within these databases acceptable?
- Is it acceptable that volunteers (such as victims, witnesses, mass screen volunteers) also have their profiles retained on the NDNAD?
- Would the collection of DNA from everyone at birth be more equitable than collecting samples from only those who come into contact with the criminal justice system?
Representatives from the following organisations have met the Working Party as part of its research:
- Crown Prosecution Service
- Police Standards Unit
- ACPO Fingerprint/ DNA Retention Programme
- Forensic Science Service, Birmingham.
- LGC Forensics
- Sussex Police (Fingerprints Expert)
- Police Information Technology Organisation
- Orchid Cellmark (Private DNA analysis provider)
- Home Office