Just before Christmas, we mentioned that we were still waiting for answers to parliamentary questions about the retention of children’s DNA tabled by Grant Shapps MP. They were very simple:
a) How many under-18s arrested but never charged or cautioned have DNA profiles stored on the National DNA Database (NDNAD)
b) How many U-18s who have received reprimands or final warnings (not a finding of guilt in law) have profiles held on NDNAD
At the time, the Sunday Times had just reported that the overall figure for retention of innocent people’s DNA was 1.2 million – 8 times the previous figure given by the government.
Given that juveniles represent a quarter of all arrests, we became suspicious that the original government figure of 25,000 for unconvicted U-18s was more likely to be around the quarter of a million mark.
We’ve just had a call to let us know that the Home Office refuses to answer Grant Shapps’ questions, claiming that it would cost too much to get the figures.
So, they can break the overall figures down according to age, or ethnic appearance. They can give figures for those in Mid-Essex or Wantage who are on the DNA database but unconvicted. They can even answer questions on individual cases involving DNA evidence.
But apparently the Home Office can’t give the figure for the number of unconvicted juveniles on the National DNA Database…?
Update January 10th I notice that Dizzy Thinks is talking about government admissions that they have a ‘traffic light’ system for PQs:
“The Department began trialing in October of this year an informal colour-coding system to identify questions of which press office should be made aware, and for which Ministers wish separate media briefing to be developed.”
So what colour do they give to the ones that even their press office can’t spin?