Burying bad news

As regular readers of this blog will know, we’ve spent the best part of a year trying to get figures for the number of unconvicted children on the National DNA Database. Various MPs have tried, the Children’s Commissioner has weighed in… nada.

At last, David Davis has managed to coax at least some figures out of a reluctant Home Office, which show that half a million under-16s are on NDNAD, and a further 0.6 million 16 and 17-year-olds.

In other words: roughly 1 in 5 16-18-year-olds has a profile on NDNAD

Given that around 40% of juvenile arrests don’t lead to any further action by the police, it’s beginning to look as if our cautious suggestion that at least 200,000 children who haven’t committed any offence at all may be on NDNAD (plus a further 200,000 who have only received a reprimand) is a sizeable underestimate.

Strange that the answers to David Davis should simply appear on the books last night. He tabled the questions a month ago and, contrary to normal practice, was not given any prior notice of the answers. What’s that old Home Office motto again? ‘Nothing to hide, nothing to fear’. Hmm.

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