Forensic DNA Sampling and the National DNA Database: A Sceptical Approach

Carole McCartney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores possible implications of the rapid expansion of the England and Wales National DNA Database (NDNAD), and the current DNA sampling of offenders and the retention of samples. A precis of the justifications enunciated for the NDNAD is followed by a sceptic’s rebuttal and wider analysis of the impact of the growth of forensic DNA testing. It is contended that the expansion of forensic DNA testing should be considered a response within the risk society to the problem of criminal detection, where ‘‘risky populations’’ will have their DNA held permanently by the State for the prevention and early detection of crime. As with any new technology, new ‘‘risks’’ are created, including not only error, improper access and disclosure and ‘‘function creep’’ but the potential creation of a ‘‘suspect society’’ with forensic DNA technology co-opted into mass surveillance and social control mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-178
JournalCritical Criminology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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