Half a million children have had their DNA recorded on Britain's police database, the government admitted yesterday.
The number of people being added to the police DNA database is rising rapidly, with a total of 667,737 people added to the database last year, home secretary John Reid said in a parliamentary written answer yesterday.
Of those added last year, 90,919 were below the age of 16, it emerged in answer to a question tabled by the shadow home secretary David Davis. That was by far the most children added in any year since the database was set up by the Conservatives in 1995. A total of 521,901 are now on the DNA database.
Davis said it was an "extremely sinister development".
"Half a million youngsters - many of whom will be innocent - have their DNA data stored by stealth. Just over 100 samples have been removed," he said in a statement.
"This is a big move towards the end of the presumption of innocence for our youth."
The figures revealed that there is now a total of 4.1 million people on the DNA database. Very few people are having their details removed from the database. Only 115 got their DNA removed from the records last year.
The numbers have been rising rapidly. In answer to a similar question in December, Reid said there were 3,457,000 people on the database. About a third (1,139,445) had no criminal record. ®