Thousands of ex-offenders are to be targeted in a national drive to add their profiles to the police DNA database in an attempt to solve hundreds of crimes.
Yes, you read that right – ‘ex-offenders’. And how can they do this?
Forces are using powers under the Crime and Security Act 2010, which became law last year. The aim is to gather DNA profiles from criminals who were convicted before the database – which now contains 6.5m profiles – was set up in 1995.
Wow! We have 6.5 million criminals?
Ah. No. Not exactly…
Meanwhile, the profiles of 1.1 million individuals who have been arrested but never convicted remain on the database.
That’s …. *counts on fingers* …a whole 16% of the total on that database that are people who should never be there.
Because they aren’t criminals!
But hang on, we shouldn’t be too hasty. What about the argument that crimes are going unsolved as a result? Shouldn’t we address this logically by carrying out a sample and…
In a sample operation in Hampshire, 471 individuals were examined but it was discovered that many had died or were already on the database because they had reoffended since 1995. Of the 167 individuals whose DNA profiles were taken there were no hits against unsolved crimes.
No crimes solved as a result. The idea should have been binned then and there.
They know this is unconscionable, but they clearly feel no shame in simply bald-facedly lying about it.
The aim, senior officers said, was to ensure police could maximise opportunities to prevent and detect crime as a result of the Crime and Security Act 2010.
You aren’t going to do that, though, are you? Your own results show that.
You’re just wasting everyone else’s time and money while you fruitlessly seek to get what you really want – everyone’s DNA on the database so that all that ‘solving crime’ business is as difficult as pushing a button.
Because it seems that so many police officers now are only fit for that…
Nick Pickles, director of the civil liberties and privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: “Members of the public will expect the police to be pursing active investigations and in the overwhelming majority of these cases the people having their sample taken will not be suspected of any new crime.
“Diverting resources away from following up current leads to track down people based on convictions that may be decades old is a questionable strategy at a time when the police are already overstretched.
“I hope forces will be giving equal focus to addressing the many innocent people on the DNA database who are now entitled to have their profile deleted, as was decided by parliament in May.”
Yeah, good luck with that, Nick!
Frances Crook, the chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “It strikes me as bizarre that at a time when the police are facing the most severe budget cuts and job losses in a generation, this is how they choose to spend what little money they have left.
“Is the public better served by the police going out on the beat and keeping our neighbourhoods safe – or going on a wild goose chase after thousands of people, who may have served their time decades ago, just so an officer can give each of them a DNA swab?”
I feel dirty for agreeing with you, Frances.
But agree with you I do. And at a time when the police are relying on the strength of feeling of the public to help them put pressure on the government to halt the proposed Winsor reforms, this is a massive misstep.