ALMOST one in 10 people in Wales are on the national DNA database after a huge surge in the number of samples taken by the police, we can reveal.
Many of the 264,420 on the database are innocent and have never been charged with any offence, but their sample is kept for life.
More than 7,155 samples have been taken from under-16s, and the annual number of samples taken by Welsh police forces was twice as high in 2006-07 as it was a decade ago.
Although the use of DNA technology has led to the clear-up of several unsolved murders, including that of Cardiff prostitute Lynette White, killed in 1988, there are fears that the database is a breach of civil liberties.
The Government is funding an inquiry into public attitudes towards the database – the biggest of its kind in the world.
“Innocent people’s DNA should be destroyed,” said Jenny Willott, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central who obtained the Welsh figures through parliamentary answers.
“We need vigorous safeguards in place to prevent abuse of the system and the Government should put an end to the database DNA research it has licensed until consent is given from all those involved.”
A spokeswoman for civil liberties campaigners Liberty said, “A smaller, more manageable DNA database of those convicted of serious sexual and violent offences would be a speedier crime-fighting tool and cost less to our purses and our privacy.”
The inquiry into the DNA database is being funded by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and will be carried out by the Human Genetics Commission, a body that advises ministers.