Speeches sourced from the Labour party’s online archive More…

Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, responding to David Cameron’s comments at PMQ’s today, said:

"David Cameron's restrictions on DNA use will make it harder for the police to bring rapists to justice, and harder to catch serial offenders too.

"The Tory-led Government’s plans mean the police could have been prevented from holding any DNA records on nearly 5,000 suspected rapists last year, even though there may be a risk of future offences.

"Government ministers think DNA should be immediately destroyed if someone is suspected and arrested but not charged. But this is a massive problem in rape cases where everyone knows the Crown Prosecution Service still have a much lower charging rate.

"When the Association of Chief Police Officers has estimated that 1,000 fewer crimes of all kinds will be solved as a result of these changes, it is time for the Government to listen and change course.

"Ministers are putting the treatment of data on crime suspects above the fight for justice for victims of crime.

"Labour’s policy allows for the proportionate retention of a suspect’s DNA for six years, regardless of whether they are charged. This is based on the evidence and the advice of senior police officers.

"For the Government to reject this evidence out of hand shows just how careless and out of touch David Cameron has become on crime.

"The Prime Minister may have been unaware of this policy, and its consequences, but now he needs to do the right thing and change course quickly in this latest disaster for criminal justice policy."

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