UK Police chiefs have said they do not intend to use genetic genealogy websites to look for suspects in unsolved cases.

While the practice has met with some success in the USA, where it has led to suspects in at least 28 cases, UK experts say checking evidence from crime scenes against material held by commercial genealogical websites would be unethical.

They also suggest that Britain’s possession of a large state-run database makes such a practice unnecessary, with the Home Office stating that police already have “one of the most efficient DNA databases in the world”.

Even so, there are concerns that officers could be missing a trick.

Colin Sutton, a former Scotland Yard detective, told The Times: “Isn’t it worth at least considering it? It’s not money or resource intensive [and] you get a pool of potential suspects that would give you more focused lines of inquiry.”