Retention of DNA samples defended by police chiefs

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Police chiefs have defended their retention of DNA samples from children in South Yorkshire – after new figures revealed that an average of 22 children give samples every week.

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Holt said: “DNA is a very effective crime-fighting tool and South Yorkshire Police, along with all other UK police forces, make good use of this technology to detect crime and keep communities safe.

“In taking DNA samples we are very careful to comply with the legislation allowing the collection and retention of such samples.”

New figures revealed South Yorkshire officers took swabs from 1,147 boys and girls aged 17 or under during 2011 and 1,510 the year before.

Under current rules, police can retain indefinitely the DNA of anyone they arrest for a recordable offence.