Select Committee on European Scrutiny First Report



Draft Council Resolution on the standardisation of DNA technology and the exchange of DNA analysis results.

Legal base:
Department: Home Office
Basis of consideration: Minister's letter to the Leader of the House of Commons of 6 June 2001
Previous Committee Report: HC 28-v (2000-01), paragraph 5 (7 February 2001)
Discussed in Council: 29-30 May 2001
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: Cleared


32.1  This draft Council Resolution encourages all Member States to adopt, as a minimum, the same seven DNA markers for forensic DNA profiling so that intelligence can be shared for comparative purposes in the fight against crime.

32.2  When the previous Committee last considered the document (in February), it did not feel that the Government had satisfactorily addressed its concern about whether the personal data to be exchanged would be adequately protected. It therefore left the proposal uncleared, and asked for an explanation of the Government's position. No response had been received by the time Parliament was dissolved.

The Minister's letter

32.3  In her letter of 6 June to the then Leader of the House of Commons, the then Minister of State at the Home Office (Mrs Barbara Roche) lists a number of proposals which were adopted as "A" points at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 28 and 29 May, although they had not cleared parliamentary scrutiny. The present document is among them.

32.4  In explanation of the decision to override the Scrutiny Reserve, the Minister cites the interests of the efficient conduct of Council business. She adds that there were important public interest arguments for proceeding, saying that differences in DNA comparators and the delays these cause were an issue in the Caroline Dickinson[53] case.


32.5  Given that the Resolution was adopted at the May Justice and Home Affairs Council, we have little alternative but to clear it. We wish to put on record, however, our dissatisfaction with the way the then Minister handled the scrutiny process. There can be no good reason for her failure to respond to the Committee for over two months.

53  English schoolgirl murdered in France. Back

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Prepared 30 July 2001