The million plus innocent DNA profiles on the national database remains one of the great intrusions on liberty in our country today. Despite good pre-election sounds from both of the coalition parties (in particular from now Immigration Minister, Damian Green) there has been little movement towards ending this injustice.
We do expect to see it included in the coming 'Freedom Bill', and note with distaste that the new leader of the Labour Party is unlikely to help in the push for DNA database reform; but stories like this one from Thinq.co.uk remind us that there is no time like the present for a much needed change:
Police will soon have the means to grab someone's genetic sample and run it through the national DNA database while waiting in the street, if early trials by military industrial giant Lockheed Martin are successful.
Handheld genetic scanners are on the drawing board, while the first suit-case-sized prototype will be tested by police forces within the year.
The RapI.D. DNA test technology will give police unprecedented power to identify someone and check them against a criminal database.
"We expect to be able to conduct genetic ID testing in under one hour," said a spokeswoman for ZyGEM, which is producing the while-you-wait DNA test.
Which is tremendous news: the illegal (as ruled by the European Court) practice of retaining the DNA of innocent people is now set to become even easier.
In case you have been taken in by the previous Government's loyalty to keeping innocent people on the DNA database, I would like to point you towards our own research paper – Cataloguing the Innocent – and the selection of stories we have on this issue here.
By Dylan Sharpe