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Science, research and statistics

The national DNA database

The national DNA database is a key police intelligence tool.

It helps to:

  • quickly identify offenders
  • make earlier arrests
  • secure more convictions
  • provide critical investigative leads for police investigations

DNA samples obtained for analysis from the collection of DNA at crime scenes and from samples taken from individuals in police custody can be held in the national DNA database.

The UK’s database is the largest of any country: 5.2% of the UK population is on the database compared with 0.5% in the USA. The database has expanded significantly over the last five years. By the end of 2005 over 3.4 million DNA profiles were held on the database – the profiles of the majority of the known active offender population.

This expansion and investment is being closely followed by Europe and America who are keen to emulate the crime-solving successes of the database.

Maintaining and developing the database is one of the government’s top priorities, with government and police investment of over £300million over the last five years. However, there are no plans to introduce a universal compulsory or voluntary, DNA database.

Find out more on the website of the National Policing Improvement Agency (new window).

Tell us what you think

We want to know what you think about how DNA records are stored.

Please take a minute to download and read our consultation Keeping the right people on the DNA database 

The consultation period finishes on 7 August 2009.

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