April 16, 2024

British DNA databank growing

Britons are beginning to worry about the size of their expanding national DNA database. More than 6% of the population, or about 4 million people, have had their profiles recorded by the government. Although its population is five times larger, the US has only 5 million profiles. Under 2001 rules for England and Wales, DNA can be taken without consent from anyone arrested for a serious crime — and kept even if he is found innocent.

Now the government wants to expand the database by including samples from people arrested for littering and minor traffic offences. "We must consider anything which frees up police time or improves the efficiency and effectiveness of police investigations," says a spokeswoman for the Home Office. Critics of the database says that it is turning Britain into an Orwellian Big Brother society.