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Extending Use of Fingerprint and DNA Samples to Combat Crime

Home Office

27 March 2003

The Metropolitan Police has today welcomed proposals to allow DNA samples and fingerprints to be taken from arrested people detained at police stations before they are charged with an offence.

Provision for the new powers has been included in an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill announced by the Government today.

Fingerprints will be taken electronically and the DNA samples will be added to the 1.8 million records currently hold on the National DNA Database.  The Home Office said the purpose would be identify people "who may be wanted for other offences" and spot repeat offenders at an earlier stage.

Ian Blair, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan police, commented:

"It is absolutely vital that all criminal justice agencies, including the police, do everything they can to strengthen public confidence in the system and improve the service we provide to victims and witnesses.

"Giving police officers the power to take fingerprints and DNA samples at the point of arrest will ensure that anyone arrested and wanted in connection with previous offences is quickly identified - something that is extremely important in relation to prolific or serial offenders.

"It will allow vulnerable or violent people to be identified more quickly and dealt with more effectively. It will also prevent suspects from obtaining their release from police custody by providing a false identity so as to abscond or continue offending.

"This provision will also bring a benefit in helping to prevent mistakes of identity and, where this has happened, allowing a quicker release from police custody."

Read the full announcement

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