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Britain now has the largest police DNA database in the world and it is growing fast.

The database, which held only 700,000 samples when Labour took office in 1997, now contains more than 3 million and this will rise to 4.25 million within two years, according to the Home Office.

The reason is that suspects arrested over any imprisonable offence can have their DNA held, even if they are never charged or are acquitted.  It now includes 140,000 from people never charged with any offence.

The Home Office report showed that 5.24% of the UK population now has a DNA profile held on the database. This compares with an EU average of 1.13% and 0.5% in the US.   In Germany it is 0.4%

Even in collectivist France only 0.1% of the population has their DNA profile held by police.

The "ethnic appearance" of each person on the database is also recorded.

The Home Office says 82 per cent of male profiles are white and 7 per cent black.   This means that nearly four in 10 black men in Britain are on the database, compared with fewer than one in 10 white men.

 

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Last modified: February 05, 2006