In Depth

Pros and cons of a compulsory DNA database

proscons_0.jpg

ARGUMENTS FOR:

  • A DNA database covering the whole population and every visitor to the UK, as advocated by Lord Justice Sedley, would save massive amounts of police time and help clear up crimes faster.
  • Those who do nothing wrong have nothing to fear and should be reassured.
  • The current system - the DNA of all those arrested for recordable offences, guilty or not, is retained - is selective and inefficient.
  • Current practice is unfair: ethnic minorities and young people are over-represented, creating resentment and anti-police feeling. Two-in-five black men have their DNA on record, as against fewer than one-in-ten whites.
  • The world has changed: international mobility means that potential terrorists can come and go, often on false papers.

ARGUMENTS AGAINST:

  • It would be the ultimate step on the road to a 'Big Brother' state: Britain would become 'a nation of suspects'.
  • Whatever the utility of DNA samples, there is something inherently disturbing about entering every baby on a database at birth.
  • A national DNA bank would be massively expensive and bureaucratic.
  • It would be damaging to the image of the UK - 'Welcome to Britain: now provide a mouth swab'.
  • DNA information could be abused by corrupt police and others illegally passing information to unauthorised people.

Recommended

Are Royal aides out to sink Meghan Markle - or is she really a ‘bully’?
Harry and Meghan Markle
Today’s big question

Are Royal aides out to sink Meghan Markle - or is she really a ‘bully’?

‘Never before have all the main engines of European integration caught fire simultaneously’
Angela Merkel and Ursula von der Leyen in the European Parliament
Instant Opinion

‘Never before have all the main engines of European integration caught fire simultaneously’

How many people need to be vaccinated against Covid to get life back to normal?
Margaret Keenan becomes the first patient in the UK to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine
In Focus

How many people need to be vaccinated against Covid to get life back to normal?

Five things we learned from Sturgeon’s testimony to Salmond inquiry
Nicola Sturgeon gives evidence to a Scottish Parliament committee
Why we’re talking about . . .

Five things we learned from Sturgeon’s testimony to Salmond inquiry

Popular articles

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 1 March 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 1 March 2021

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021
Line of Duty series six returns to BBC One in 2021
In Depth

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021

Are Harry and Meghan pushing it with their request for press privacy?
Harry and Meghan
The latest on . . .

Are Harry and Meghan pushing it with their request for press privacy?