His crucial remark is in reply to the fact that keeping aquitted people on the database does help solve crimes;
"If you just dumped a few hundred thousand people at random on the database you would get the same effect
I completely agree with this - it is unfair that some people are on the database and others are not because some rapists and murderers will be caught and others will escape merely because they have had no previous contact with police - which could be more about the prejudices of police and societal actions rather than individual actions.
The argument is that those arrested and aquitted are an unrepresentative section of the population who are being 'punished' by having their details held despite not being convicted of any crime.
It is certainly correct that the prejudices of society can decide who ends up on the database. But if we follow this logic through shouldn't convicted criminals also have their details relinquished? Because they too tend to over-represent certain groups.
It seems to me what is unfair is that some people are treated differently to others and if we are to have a DNA database at all and be fair to all then we have to put EVERYONE on it.
We have to look at this new technology as we would any other technology - we wouldn't say we will only consult mobile phone evidence or CCTV evidence for people who have previous. The fact is we don't know who is going to be guilty and who isn't by their previous actions - that is prejudging people, i.e. prejudice. The only way around this is to treat everyone the same and have everyone on the DNA register.
The other concerns of Prof Jeffries relate to other matters. Of course it is a scandal if people are not allowed a re-test to confirm results - there will obviously be mistakes on the database and also with testing. And of course, as I always state - DNA is only one avenue of evidence and not conclusive, it needs to be backed up with other evidence. None of this affects the argument about who should be on the database and who shouldn't.
Finally if there is a 'stigma' about being on the database, of being 'branded as criminal', surely if everyone was on it, rather than just convicted criminals and those unfortunate enough to be picked on by police when completely innocent of any crime, then surely any stigma would disappear.
There is one thing that would be certain, if everyone was on the database - there would be less rapists and murderers going unpunished and more innocent people set free.
I sometimes suspect that opposition to the DNA database has more to do with the fact that middle class people and people of 'standing' will be treated the same as the rest of us plebs, rather than anything to do with real civil liberties.
If you look at cases - even the very first case showed that the person the police wanted to 'fit up' for the crime was proved innocent by DNA evidence and someone who was completely unsuspected was found. Putting everyone on the database is more likely to prove innocence and bring the actual culprits to justice. What is wrong with that?