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Yvette Cooper MP, Labour's Shadow Home Secretary, responding to reports today that Edward Garnier, Solicitor General, is bringing a test appeal before the Court of Appeal in three cases of rape in an endeavour to increase the jail terms and potentially new sentencing guidance to be issued, said:

"I wholeheartedly agree with the Solicitor General when he says he wants to make sure sentences for rape are not too low. We also agree on the need to improve the low conviction rates in rape cases.

"However I am seriously concerned that the Home Secretary's plans are undermining this important work to get justice for rape victims.

"In one of the Solicitor General's cases the offender was caught because his DNA was held by police after an arrest for suspected burglary. But the Home Secretary wants DNA records destroyed straight away if people are arrested but not charged, making it much harder for the police to solve cases like this, and increasing the risk that justice for those victims is never done.

"The Home Secretary has said that dangerous or violent offenders will not be missed because of the Government weakening the DNA database. But so many case examples now show that is simply not the case."

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