Although the effect of population differentiation on the forensic use of DNA profiles has been the subject of controversy for some years now, the debate has largely failed to focus on the genetical questions directly relevant to the forensic context. We re-analyse two published data sets and find that they convey much the same message for forensic inference, in contrast with the dramatically differing conclusions of the original authors. The analysis is likelihood-based and combines information across loci and across populations without assuming constant genetic differentiation. Our results suggest that the relevant genetic correlation coefficients are too large to be ignored in forensic work: although DNA profile evidence is typically very strong, the effect of genetic correlations can be important in some cases. Such correlations can, however, be accommodated in an appropriate assessment of evidential strength so that population genetic issues should not present a barrier to the efficient and fair use of DNA profile evidence.