Police took DNA from 496 children

Northamptonshire Police take DNA samples from 10 children every week, figures obtained by the Howard League for Penal Reform revealed this week.

Many of the children required to give a sample will not have been charged with a criminal offence.

Under current rules, police can retain indefinitely the DNA of anyone they arrest for a recordable offence.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the charity, said: “Children who get into trouble with the police are usually just up to mischief.

“Treating so many like hardened criminals by taking their DNA seems excessive.”