Monday, 17 March 2008

Identify children as potential offenders says police chief

The new spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Gary Pugh, has said that he wants primary school pupils to be registered on the police DNA database, so that their details can be kept in case they offend later on in their lives.

Mr Pugh, who is also director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard, said that he wants a debate to begin about identifying children as potential offenders in an attempt to tackle crime before it took place, to find out who are “possibly going to be the biggest threat to society.” Mr Pugh’s science fiction reality has been condemned by the civil rights group Liberty and also the National Primary Headteachers' Association.

With a staggering 4.5 million genetic samples on their current UK database, and with their splendid record of misplacing confidential information/files, the police are by far the single biggest threat to society we have. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), in a recent report, has also argued that children between the ages of 5 and 12 years should be identified as potential criminals and should be supported with therapy and specially adapted programmes, like Sure Start Plus.

The police DNA database, which is already the biggest in Europe, currently contains DNA information from 10 to 18 year olds, because police are able to take samples from anyone arrested who is over the age of ten. The DNA information is retained by the police regardless of whether the child is later charged, convicted or found innocent. By this time next year it is estimated that the number of children between 10 and 18 years on the database will be 1.5 million.

When Devon and Cornwall Constabulary were asked recently how many children, between the ages of 10 and 18 years of age, have had their DNA samples entered onto the database they did not seem to understand the question and requested further clarity from the inquirer.

Are the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary deliberately trying to avoid the question or are they just playing dumb in the hope that the questioner goes away?

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