The figure revealed by the #biometrics commissioner, Alastair Macgregor QC, in his annual report on Friday, is far higher than any previous indications of the number of suspected terrorists in Britain.
The commissioner reveals that the number of individuals whose DNA profiles and fingerprints are being logged on the little-known database as a result of counter-terrorism investigations is growing rapidly, having risen from 6,500 identified individuals in October 2013.
The watchdog also reports that errors and delays in an official drive to delete the biometric records of those who have never been convicted of an offence – which account for 55% or 4,350 of those on the counter-terrorism database – have led to the destruction of a significant number of biometric records of terrorism suspects that should have been kept on national security grounds.
In his second annual report, Macgregor says 1.7m DNA profiles and 1.6m sets of fingerprints have been deleted from the police national DNA database since the home secretary, Theresa May, introduced legislation in 2012 requiring the removal of details of those who have never been convicted of a criminal offence.
A police counter-terrorism database contains the DNA profiles and fingerprints of more than 7,800 identified individuals, an official government watchdog has revealed.