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UK civil rights commissioner vows probe of race bias in DNA database

[JURIST] The chairman of Britain's Commission for Racial Equality [official website] says that he plans to investigate possible racial biases in the nation's crime-fighting DNA database [POST backgrounder] in the wake of reports that according to initial Home Office [official website] figures, 77 percent of the UK's black men ages 18 - 34 will be entered into the database by April. Only 22 percent of young white men are expected to be included in the database and only 6 percent of the general population. The program compiles the DNA of all arrested crime suspects and creates a permanent file, even if a suspect is later cleared of the crime. Trevor Phillips says his team will investigate whether the database breaches the Race Relations Act [text; backgrounder] and unfairly prejudices young black men, who are more likely to come into contact with police than any other race, age or sex group in the United Kingdom [JURIST news archive].

If the commission finds the database breaches race laws, the CRE will consider taking legal action. The London Telegraph has more.

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