This week it was revealed that the number of profiles stored on the DNA database by police forces in England and Wales has topped 10% of the population for the first time.
Whilst there is no argument that DNA is an important forensic tool in detecting and prosecuting crime, Labour have been obsessed with growing the DNA database for the sake of it. Guilt or innocence isn't relevant. In Labour's database state it's simply about expanding the amount of information held by government.
This ‘Big Brother' mindset is evident in the Government's approach of delay, deferral and do nothing in the face of their policy being unlawful. Nearly a year ago it was ruled that the blanket and indiscriminate retention of DNA profiles of people suspected but not convicted of offences breached the European Convention on Human Rights. Yet rather than deal with this serious situation, the Home Office have been dragging their feet.
After a plan to allow decisions on DNA retention by ministerial rubber stamp ran into problems in the Lords, the Government now promise to introduce new proposals in next month's Queen's Speech. The impact of this seemingly positive step is that nothing will happen any time soon. Any new bill would need to complete its legislative process before the general election - a tall order given that it will almost certainly be lumped together with the normal Marsham Street mish-mash of proposals for yet more Home Affairs laws.
We have already announced that a Conservative government would adopt a system where DNA profiles of those not convicted of an offence would only be retained where someone had been charged with a crime of violence or a sexual offence. These DNA profiles would be retained for three years subject to the right to apply to court for a further two year extension. This is a workable approach which balances personal freedom against community safety. The Government could act now. Instead it will continue to treat us all as potential suspects.