Liberty and Labour MP hold ‘DNA clinic’

By Ian Dunt

Liberty is teaming up with renegade Labour MP Diane Abbot to offer members of the public in Hackney the chance to get their DNA off the national database.

The Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington and Liberty lawyers will be on hand to advise those who have had their DNA retained unfairly how to get their profiles removed from the database.

The event follows the success of shadow immigration minister Damian Green, who succeeded in having his DNA removed from the database yesterday.

“I am glad that Damian Green has been able to get his DNA wiped off of the database,” Ms Abbot said.

“But, as the home affairs select committee pointed out this month, black men are disproportionately represented on the database.

“In particular there are tens of thousands of completely innocent young people who have been stigmatised in this way,” she continued.

“It is time that the government acted on the ECHR ruling that automatic retention of DNA is wrong. And I am looking forward to working with Liberty to make sure that young people in Hackney who are innocent of any crime can have their DNA taken off the government’s database just like Damian Green.”

The government has yet to fully comply with the decision of the European court of human rights last year that innocent people’s DNA should not be retained in the database.

Anna Fairclough, legal officer for Liberty, said: “If Damian Green MP can have his DNA destroyed in record time, young people in Hackney should be entitled to the same.

“Those without a powerful voice are just as innocent, yet the police seem to find their requests for DNA destruction considerably easier to dismiss.”

The National DNA database is one of the largest in the world, holding 4.5 million profiles, including 850,000 people who were never even charged or cautioned.