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DNA sample change still under review

22 March 2006

Scottish Ministers have not yet committed themselves to supporting the principle of DNA samples being taken and retained from everyone arrested by the police in Scotland, the Deputy Justice Minister has admitted.

Hugh Henry was giving evidence to the Holyrood Justice 2 Committee considering the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice Bill. Labour MSP Paul Martin has tabled an amendment which would allow a similar DNA database to be compiled as that already operational in England, where over a million samples are now on file. The minister said the Executive had not yet decided whether to support the proposal, though indicated that he was sympathetic.

Civil liberties groups are strongly opposed to retention of samples on human rights grounds. It is believed that Liberal Democrat members of the Executive coalition share their views, which could result in the issue being shelved until after the 2007 election.