Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Police DNA Doorstep Swoop on Ex-Convicts ; 2,000 Offenders Are Ordered to Give Swabs

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Police DNA Doorstep Swoop on Ex-Convicts ; 2,000 Offenders Are Ordered to Give Swabs

Article excerpt

POLICE are ordering 2,000 ex-convicts in Greater Manchester to provide a sample of DNA in a controversial crackdown on crime.

Officers have knocked on more than 500 doors this week to 'harvest' mouth swabs from offenders who committed serious crimes up to 40 years ago. GMP is using controversial new powers granted under the Crime and Security Act 2010, which was introduced by Labour and came into force under the coalition last year.

So far, mouth swabs have been taken from 160 offenders, most of whom committed serious crimes in the 1970s, 80s and 90s before the creation of the National DNA Database.

It is believed GMP is among the first forces to use the powers.

Police chiefs say the mass DNA screening of ex-offenders is a welcome opportunity to solve more crimes.

But civil liberties campaigners expressed concern about what they call 'a huge sweeping operation not based on any leads or suspicion'. Officers have been visiting the homes of convicted criminals and inviting them to provide a DNA sample on the spot or at a police station within seven days.

Police said that all of those who had been approached so far in the drive - codenamed 'Operation Harvest' - had agreed to provide the DNA sample as requested. But if they refuse officers have the power under the new act to force them to comply.

'have The samples will be checked against the database and the suspects face arrest if they are linked to any unsolved crimes. In total, up to 2,000 convicted criminals in Greater Manchester whose details are not on the DNA database are being targeted.

with The profiles of more than 5.5m people in England and Wales are kept on the National DNA Database, which was set up in 1995. Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney said: "These are people who have in the past committed serious offences, perhaps crimes of a sexual nature or crimes of violence. …

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