Saturday, January 21, 2006

Juvenile DNA

"Police hold the DNA of 24,000 children who have committed no crime"

That was the second opening headline on BBC Television news at 5.30 today.

The actual item did point out that the "children" had in fact "never having been cautioned, charged or convicted of an offence" - something slightly different.

Since 2001 the police have been able to keep DNA samples from all arrestees, no matter what the outcome of the investigations. Given the enormous discrepancy between the number of crimes committed and the number of criminals convicted, it is highly likely that some - perhaps many - who are acquitted or never charged, will go on to commit other offences. In fact, of the 139,000 samples from people neither cautioned nor convicted, 8,200 have been matched with evidence from subsequent crime scenes, including 109 murders, 55 attempted murders and 116 rapes.

An MP who is apparently a Conservative, a Mr Grant Shapps, is (according to the BBC) trying to get the 'youngsters' details erased, though his website is more ambiguous. Mr Shapps certainly sounds like one of Mr Cameron's new light-blue Tories.

"Grant Shapps lives in Welwyn Hatfield with his wife, Belinda, their son, Hadley (now nearly 5) and two year old twins, Tabytha (girl) and Noa (boy)".

I half expect to see the words 'in a Mongolian yurt set in sustainably managed ancient woodland on the intersection of two ley lines' somewhere in that sentence.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is that L3 codeword "children" again. We are supposed to picture angelic tots in straw boaters and school blazers, perhaps discussing cricket or ponies - rather than the foul mouthed alcopop, dope consuming adolescents in shell suits that are the more likely subjects of the DNA database. Not mention members of some of the more vibrant minorities who enrich our society.