helen on May 19th, 2008.

Have you or your child been arrested and had your DNA and fingerprints taken by the police?

If so, you will probably have a computer record on Britain’s National DNA Database.

More than 900,000 innocent people who have been arrested in England, Wales or Northern Ireland are thought to have their DNA and computer records retained.

The new Protections of Freedom Bill was published in February 2011.

If the Bill is adopted most people who are found not guilty or have no further action taken following arrest will have their records taken off the DNA database automatically once the investigation into their case is complete. A minority arrested for serious offences but not convicted would have their DNA profiles retained for up to five years. Fingerprints would also be deleted at the same time as DNA records and children convicted of a single minor offence would also be taken off the DNA and fingerprint databases after five years.

DNA samples, which are currently stored by the laboratories which analyse them for the police would be destroyed within 6 months, once the computerised DNA profile has been stored on the DNA database.

However, innocent people’s linked records on the Police National Computer will continue to be kept indefinitely (to age 100). Police records can be used to refuse someone a visa or a job.

What you can do

The Protection of Freedoms Bill will be debated by parliament and voted on by MPs before it becomes law. To find out about what you can do to help improve the Bill, visit the further action page.

If you want to discuss this issue with others you can also visit this Facebook page (external link).

You can find out more about the issues using the menu on the right.

Even if you are not on the DNA database you can still take action.

You can make a difference

If you take action now you can make a difference to what happens to your DNA and help to change the law. The letters that people have written to MPs are one of the main reasons that the new Government has promised it will change the law.