`UK police arresting non-whites for DNA sampling’

Police under fire for making unwarranted arrests

26th November 2009: The UK police have come under fire for allegedly arresting people, non-whites in particular, to record their DNA profiles on a national database. As of now, almost one million people are now on the database.

An independent government advisory body, the Human Genetics Commission, said there was some evidence to suggest that people were arrested to retain the DNA information, even though they might not have been arrested in other circumstances.

The commission report says the DNA profiles of 75 per cent of all non-white males in Britain now figure in the database. This has risked stigmatizing a whole section of society.

In fact, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission said the proportion of black men on the database gave the impression one race group represented an "alien wedge" of criminality.

In its report, the genetics commission has rather criticized the gradual development of the database and has questioned its efficacy in helping the police to investigate and solve crimes.

Commission chairman Jonathan Montgomery said it has now become a routine to take DNA samples on arrest. As such, a large numbers of people on the DNA database will now be there not because they have been convicted, but because they’ve been arrested.

Quoting a retired senior police officer, Professor Montgomery said it was now a norm to arrest offenders for everything if there is a power to do so. It was apparently understood by serving police officers that one of the reasons was so that DNA could be obtained.

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