Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

102-year-old man held on DNA database

A man who is 102-years old is the oldest person to have his DNA stored on the national database.

The 10 oldest people who are on file are all men: there are five 99-year-olds, three aged 100, a 101-year-old and the 102-year-old. According to the statistics, obtained from the National Policing Improvement Agency by The Independent, only four of the 10 men went on to be convicted of a crime after their DNA had been taken. The 102-year-old's identity and transgression have not been disclosed, but a separate table shows the man was 102 when his sample was taken and logged.



The 10 youngest records were all of 10-year-old boys, two of whom were innocent of any crime. Cases relating to another three are ongoing.



Campaigners said that keeping DNA records of very elderly people and young children shows that the database is expanding beyond its remit. "DNA profiles of small children and centenarians have no place on this database which is far more appropriate for dangerous, convicted criminals," said Isabella Sankey, the director of policy at Liberty, who called for a "more targeted, proportionate" system.



The police agency said that some of the results could be from people providing a voluntary sample to be eliminated from an investigation. The details of the most elderly people comes after figures released last year showed that 40 pensioners are arrested in Britain every day.



More than 40,000 over-65s have been arrested since 2007. Most notoriously, a 71-year-old man was fined for rollerblading in Southport, and a 72-year-old man was wrongly arrested in Tyne and Wear by officers who thought he had stolen a bath plug from B&Q.



It is the first time an exact age has been given to the oldest person whose details are kept by police. The data, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, shows that the DNA of several 10-year-olds is also being retained. Last year, the then-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith told MPs that the oldest person was "over 90-years-old" but did not specify the exact age.

Independent

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