back to article Police want DNA collection superpowers

Police in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales are seeking to extend their already world-beating powers to collect and store DNA samples from the general population. Current powers allow the coppers to collect samples, which are digitised and stored permanently, from anyone arrested on suspicion of, but not neccesarily charged …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Chris Taylor

    Useless police "service"

    Until and unless the Police can make a better job of catching criminals under the current system they cannot possibly be trusted to continually expand their powers any further.

    The Service still has an appalling detection rate, is focussing on the wrong types of crime and is little more than a bureau for providing insurance numbers for the majority of crime.

    Don't get me wrong, I am ALWAYS pleased to see the police when I need them and I support them. But recording DNA of "innocent" people as a hedge against future crime is a police state by stealth.

    Lets have a democratic referendum, all those in favour of microchipping at birth, barcode tatoos, DNA registration and id card scanners... mark your ballot for fascist dictatorship with an X

  2. Roger Paul

    Excuse me...

    Am I the only person who thinks this is an absolute ******* outrage? I'd happily drag any attempt to take a DNA sample through every level of court imaginable, local, national and international.

    Who the hell do they think they are? My blood boils...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But Why ???

    "said the inquiry would cover things like whether or not it is justified to retain data from people who are either not charged or subsequently acquitted."

    Why do they NEED an enquiry to answer that?

    It's *NOT* justified, and they should simply say so and that should be the END of the story.

    By definition, a person is innocent until proved guilty -- and therefore, a person who is not charged or who is acquitted is by definition innocent.

    Why therefore does anybody with even the slightest amount of intelligence consider its proper to collect information supposedly for crime fighting, but which demonstrably applies to the innocent?

    That sort of mis-logic is very similar to that which comes from the privacy-violating twits at the TV licensing centre, who presume that people without TVs must be guilty of an offence. Not true, not owning a TV is not an offence and the onus should be on the TV licensing to *detect* a TV before being allowed to ask questions of the occupents.

  4. Trevor

    Who are they?

    "will be involving a small, group of ordinary people who will consider social and ethical issues involved in the current and future use of DNA for forensic purposes",

    Who are these "ordinary people" ? Hopefully they will actually understand what DNA actually is in the first place in order to make a decision!

    Some "ordinary people" I know would not even understand the paragraph I have quoted! How are they going to decide either way?

    It all sounds remarkably fishy to me.....

  5. Craig Leeds

    Chewing gum.

    That means they could go about picking up chewing gum (classed as littering) test it against the existing database and send fines out in the post?


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let me get this straight...

    Our beloved Boys In Blue want to DNA tag someone who litters... just in case they're a screaming murderer who rapes woman and molests kids????

    Is it just me or is anyone else thinking that our Boys in Blue are starting to make your average "Religious Police" in any Mid East country look like a bunch of forgiving liberalists????

    If this goes through, face it, we're all toast.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know

    to "allowing a serious offender to walk from custody, following arrest for a non-recordable offence, and if they go on to commit a further offence".

    while we are at it let's lock up anyone who happens to meet a policeman just in case they go on to commit a serious crime. can never be too careful you know.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong way round

    The police and New Labour would do better to declare everyone in the UK a criminal (actual or incipient).

    We can then be individually crossed off that list and declared innocent after suitable checks are conducted; either by the police using their contacts in the funny handshake brigade, or by the government after suitable financial donations to the Party .

  9. Tim Porter

    All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others...

    "Current powers allow the coppers to collect samples, which are digitised and stored permanently, from anyone arrested on suspicion of, but not neccesarily charged with, a recordable offence. This is normally an offence that would qualify for a custodial sentence."

    Funnily enough, there's an article in the latest Private Eye that suggested those arrested in connection of with the 'Cash for Honours' fiasco didn't have DNA samples taken from them.

    None of the parties responded to Private Eye's enquiries, no doubt thinking a dignified silence would be best....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DNA Database...

    By all accounts the Police exersise their "right" to collect our DNA selectively - according to Private Eye this week, it looks like those ministers who were arrested in the cash for peerages scandal never had their DNA taken. This is a disgrace.

    Also, the more information that goes onto this database the more false positives are going to be thrown up, making it increasingly useless.

    Consider this: The DNA can only identify at a family level. There are two brothers, one in trouble with the Rozzers all the time, the other who is "an angel". The angel goes out and kills someone, who gets sent down for it?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you have nothing to hide

    I would like to leave the country if this came in, but would probably need to give DNA for a passport at that time, and as we don't follow all the Schengen Agreement I would need the passport to leave the country.

    There is a case where I would join the database, if anyone who says "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" was shot.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big Vern says...

    ...No bastard copper is going to take my DNA alive..!!

    Big Vern

  13. Silas

    It's not the Police I'm worried about

    While the police having full access to a DNA database of every person in the country would mean that they'd be able to clear up crimes pretty quickly (although obviously there'd be questions of cross-contamination and a surge in ABC suit sales to criminals), I'm more worried about who else would have access to the database itself.

    For example, who checks the police use? Who decides who can and who can't legitimately look at the database? How many outside organisations will be allowed into the database? How many checks do those outside firms - Prison Service for example - have to make on their own staff before they can use it?

    And, all these new criminals that get captured, where are we going to put them? AFAIK the prisons we have are already full.

    Oh, and who in their right minds would trust ANY Government not to use and abuse a database containing full information on all of their political rivals, their illegitimate offspring and/or people who just happened to disagree with them?

    Rant over. Thanks.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Its nice to see that someone at ACPO has their head screwed on correctly. We seem to have bunch of power mad fascists heading up a lot of the police forces nowadays.

    Their concept of DNA fingerprinting people who drop litter is the biggest pile of crap they've come up with recently - when did you last see anyone even being warned about dropping litter (outside Singapore that is)

  15. dodge

    If I'm going to have a hangover I may as well drink

    The Top Cop makes a very good point... the increased criminalisation of law-abiding people. If the cops now assume you've either committed a crime, or will soon commit a crime, the message will be driven through to people that they're all essentially criminals just waiting to be prosecuted.

    And if I'm going to have the hangover anyway (suspicion, records about me, etc), then the moral ground shifts rapidly towards normally (mostly) law abiding people starting to think that doing something a little bit illegal is justified by the fact that they're already assumed to be a little bit criminal.

    And that's a road we don't want to go down, do we?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This cannot be allowed to happen. Retaining DNA from people not charged with an offence was a step to far, this is police power beyond any reason or justification.

    Particularly coming on the day when another whitewash has cleared the police of executing an innocent man under restraint and telling a pack of lies about it to the press.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guilty from birth

    I don't like the sound of this. The government must think we are all criminals. Except the Scottish.

    Why are the Scots always treated differently?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where you've been

    "Your DNA can reveal where you have been"

    How does that work then? Must have missed that bio class.

  19. Steve Evans

    At this rate...

    Inspector morse will soon be replaced by Inspector

    select,known_crims.address from unsolved_crimes join known_crims on (unsolved_crimes.dna=known_crims.dna) where handshake<>dodgy and donation_to_gov<5000

  20. Greg

    WTF - Crime's going down

    Crime is going down, through the use of regular detection techniques and society's greater prosperity. So, do the police think that it is attainable to wipe out all crimes forever or catch all crims, every time? No? Well this is a hell of a price to pay for anything less! I, for one, am appalled by the prospect of such overbearing intrusion into the private lives of the population. I really hate the simpering, noddy argument that crime detection trumps all other considerations, not least of which is personal liberty. And those who say 'if you've done nothing wrong, then you've nothing to worry about' are probably from the less creative, sheep like, middle of the road, boring, unchallenging, uninspired, insipid part of society. Let those meek idiots not inherit the earth.

  21. Andy Silver badge

    IANAL, but....

    I was under the impression that English law protected you against having to give evidence that might incriminate you. Then again, I also believed there was a principle of presumption of innocence, so I might just be deluded.

    Roger Paul: no, you are not the only one.


  22. Stuart Van Onselen


    Does any of this remind anyone of Judge Dredd (lawman in a literal police-state) and the notoriously oppressive Mega City One? (One of you has already alluded to it - DNA tracing of chewing-gum litter was the feature of one story.)

    The publishers of 2000AD were clearly three decades ahead of their time.

    And remember how, once readers became inured to Mega City One, they took the whole thing one stage further, and created Deadworld. Where the Judges decided that, since all crimes were committed by the living, that Life Itself would be declared a crime. "The crime issss Life, the punisssshment issss Death!"

    You're all guilty! Gimme your DNA now!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Treat people like criminals and they'll become criminals

    Blair had one solution to every problem, make it a crime.

    When that didn't work, make it a tougher crime.

    When that didn't work, lower the threshold for prosecution.

    When that didn't work, create mini crimes, asbo's, control orders with lower levels of proof.

    Allow heresay as evidence.

    Allow prosecution where you can't get to face your accuser.

    The jails are full? I wonder why!

    The police now think that they rule the roost, that every problem should be fixed by more police powers, lower controls on their use, more freedom to investigate innocent people, reduction on presumption of innocence.... because that was how Blair did it.

    But that was because we had a twat as a leader. I'd love to express my hope that he, well, might have an accident while in the middle east. However I have to self censor myself, because even saying what I really think is a crime!

    The police are out of control if they're taking DNA samples of 900,000 of our kids in straight violation of presumption of innocence and the right for our kids to have privacy.

    They have no business doing that, and no business trying to drive law making police as though they are the elected government.

  24. Steve Sutton


    ...that actually the police just want *everybody's* DNA on file, and are using this as an excuse.

    Anyway, I have a question. What will happen to me, when I refuse to provide a sample. No doubt I'd be held under some anti-terror law, and ultimately locked away. But what happens then? Surely they can't keep me locked up forever? Do the filth^H^H^H^H^Hcnuts have to power to take a DNA sample by force?

  25. Rob

    Wrong planet...

    ..."By definition, a person is innocent until proved guilty.."

    Maybe a few years ago that was true, but on this planet and living in the here and now, I think it's more of a case that you have to prove your innocence first.

  26. Jonathan McCulloch

    This Is Why I Moved To Ireland

    I've been warning Britain was turning into a police state for over 20 years.

    Eventually, I'd had enough... and just over a week ago, I moved to the ROI.

    Funny thing is, no one ever wonders WHY!

    -- Jon

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Pro Comments?

    Currently DNA Profiling is the most accurate forensic technique. However, it's of no use unless you have DNA references to match samples again. That's fine if you have suspects, but what if you don't? Should cases goes unsolved for decades or forever? What would be lost by having every person's DNA captured on birth? Matches can't be made until a sample is physically collected from where you have been, or unless there's a family-level match base pointing the police your way. However, the final match is done on a more granular scale with truly unprecedented precision. Currently the database is built from those connected or suspected of criminal activity. They are trying to widen the capture reference to improve the efficiency of criminal investigations. What's so bad about that? By removing/reducing the ambiguity of identity there will be more correlation made between multiple crimes and the greater chance to reduce one occurring of greater magnitude.

  28. Matt


    listen to the drip drip dripping of your rights disappear.

    Start with keeping "lists" of "sex offenders" (from you getting caught shagging in public right to molesting a minor and rape)

    on to banning forms of extreme pornography and undesirable speach.

    Trickle forward to holding people without trial, keeping dna records for innocent people held in custody (they have my dna - I got a caution for drunk and incapable on a public highway - not even drunk and disorderly)

    Forward to making drawings illegal. (I mean that's next to making thinking illegal, seriously.)

    Now onto storing your dna for non-crimes... how long until a mandatory aquistion of biometric data from schools and the passport office? How about all medical records being accessible (I mean, they could have vital information pertaining to potential criminal activity too.)

    The ideal solution for police is that everyone is placed in jail and released when they are satisfied that you will not commit a crime. I mean, that's just the police for you, bless em. Sadly our government (and O I don't think those filthy tories would be any different) seem more then happy to go along with it.

    I find the whole loli thing the best example of this (loli being the inhouse term for anime smut with young looking characters)

    you start with

    - child molesting = bad, so they will be arrested (good, they are obviously a threat)

    - pictures of child molesting bad = well if you like to look at real pics you are obviously inetested in real kids, also by not reporting the images you're assisting in a crime. (So good show. All fine.)

    - Grooming = now there's a nebulus term, but I suppose it's fine depending on the content.

    - Modified computer images... = okay the images look real, so obviously someone who looks at them may pose a threat... (you can barely convince me)

    - Drawn pictures of young anime characters = even their own studies showed no correlation between such pictures and inappropriate attitudes to children. However the police still felt (despite no evidence in this day where you can buy ready made studies on anything) that they should be classed undet the same bracket as real pictures. And the first time I see a girl with huge eyes, pink hair, and a magic fucking wand I will probably commit myself to a mental asylum coz I've finally cracked.

    The final crime of course raises an interesting question - so they want to make ownership of such pictures equal to ownership of real child porn (I mean wtf). However if owning them is like owning child porn is drawing them the equivelent of raping a child? Is this the first official thought crime?

    There was a similar train of thought with violent porn

    Murder a partner = bad you should be arrested.

    commiting non consenstual sexual violence = bad, get arrested

    Looking at non consenstual sexual violence = bad, get arrested

    Looking at consentual sexual violence = ... well somepeople just like a good lashing with a plastic bag over their head. Live with it.

    They wanna take your dna and add it to an ever growing register so it is easier to convict you with crimes in a world of ever increasing criminal offenses. If the current offenses can't catch you they'll just make a new offence, lowering the already low bar.

    Yet at the same time they can't stop teenagers from being fucking retarded shittards who need killing (I hate emos and chavs they're a waste of good air)

    ahhh rant over.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Police state

    One step close to a police state. They already lie at every opportunity just to try to get you to do what they want. If they want my DNA then they argue with me in front of a judge to try and get a warrant to obtain it. Once the judge orders that the police can obtain my DNA then every freedom that the British people have will have disappeared.

    The police are a bunch of useless bastards anyway. Currently their only skill is to sit in their car/van with a speed gun. Unfortunately those coppers who do actually do some work, the ones I do appreciate, are severely underminded by our pathetic and corrupt government.

    Time for a civil war methinks.

  30. Harry Stottle

    There IS a strong case for Universal Registration...

    ...on the NDNAD but ONLY with the following protections in place:

    • Except for convicted criminals, Data should be collected and STORED ANONYMOUSLY (protected by one time keys)

    • Compulsion should apply only where a serious crime has been committed - and JURIES not Police, Politicians or Judges should be the judge of what constitutes "Serious" enough to warrant compulsory DNA registration

    • Invite, encourage and reward voluntary registration

    • Strict audited & controlled access to Primary ID through Identity Escrow (with keys to the data held not by Government but Trusted 3rd Parties of our own choice. I for example, would want mine held by an organisation like Liberty rather than, say, a bank)

    • Permit withdrawal of DNA Profile at any time for any reason unless associated with crime (Essential protection against abuse - we can simply opt out)

    I have tried to explain this is somewhat more detail as part of the paper on ID Cards:

  31. Dave Murray

    Re: Guilty from birth

    "Why are the Scots always treated differently?"

    Because we wouldn't stand for the facist laws you have in England. (And, we have always had separate legal, education and health systems.)

    I knew this request was coming, it was just a matter of time once they started taking samples from anyone arrested without caring if they were innocent or guilty. Ten years ago if someone said that you are innocent until proved guilty everyone believed them, now most of us laugh because otherwise we would cry.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The police now protect the state, not the citizens.

    "What will happen to me, when I refuse to provide a sample"

    As far as I know they are allowed to extract a sample using force if necessary. If you resist then it's assualting a police officer.

    If the police want to regard us all as criminals in waiting then I think the time has now come when all law abiding people must now regard the police as, well let's say "adversaries".

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's bad enough already

    I already have my DNA on the database thanks to a heavy-handed arrest a while back, despite never being charged with a recordable offence.

    The official line? "The police can legally take and retain a DNA sample from anyone detained at a police station having been arrested for a recordable offence and can retain the sample, even if the person is not charged or is acquitted of the offence."

    I'm already screwed under the US visa waiver programme as a result. I'm on the glorious minority report DNA database. And now they want to extend the discourtesy to anyone who looks like they might wear a loud shirt at night in a quiet neighbourhood.

    NWA had it right - fuck the police. Right between the eyes.

  34. Les Matthew

    Re: Guilty from birth

    Scotland has a completely separate legal system from that of England and Wales.

    That might have something to do with it.

  35. paul

    if i remember correctly

    the police declined the opportunity to help inflate the database with their own samples.

    odd, I can't think why?

    Also, what I don't understand is they rarely break out the DNA kit anyway.

    If my car is stolen (as is pointed out above) they can usually only be bothered to issue an incident number, even if the car is subsequently found.

    I'm glad I left.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps it is the Police who need their DNA taken ??

  37. This post has been deleted by its author

  38. Andrew

    You liberal bastards...

    ...I for one welcome our fascist overlords.


  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only thing worse than criminals....

    ... in this country is the f*****g Police! Scum that they are.

    Sorry I was going to make a sensible and considered point in response to this important issue but I know that I may as well p**s up a rope. I just can't be bothered to maintain any civility to this joke of a libertarian society any more. So I might as well join the Oiks and shout abuse.

    Where do you start with something that is so anti democratic and emasculating of personal freedom? The fact that the people proposing this, just don't get it. Should send alarm bells ringing for all of us.

  40. heystoopid

    Perverted logic

    Perverted logic , interestingly by using this scheme they are spending the entire budget on catching blue collar criminals with average net yields less then ten thousand pounds per offence and anywhere between ten to twenty years in jail time on conviction!

    Back on white collar crimes , where the average yields are a million pound plus and the jail terms are less then 3 years because they are classified as victimless crimes , they are totally ignored by the plods as none can read double entry book keeping .

    An interesting form of perverted logic!

  41. alain williams Silver badge

    Accountability, checks and balances ?

    I see the police being given all sorts of new powers (usually on the pretext of hunting the current bogey men: paedophiles and terrorists); no where do I see that police procedures are tightened up: to stop the wrong people looking at the files; independent oversight of their activities; proper reporting of real facts.

    Also: if they want to catch some criminals they could start with those social parasites who inhabit the legal system. Solicitors, barristers and judges who are only interested in trousering your money. The most child abuse today is done by judges who break up families and distort the truth to stop loving dads from knowing their kids.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Why are the Scots always treated differently?"

    "Why are the Scots always treated differently?"

    Why are the French always treated differently?

    Why are the Dutch always treated differently?

    Why are the Botswanans always treated differently?

    Why are the Outer Mongolians always treated differently?


  43. Ascylto

    Stand up ... be counted ...

    I am heartened by most of the comments and anger shown on these pages but it's the 'Big Bruvva' watchers who will go back to their tellies, not vote, do nothing, who will see all of us fingerprinted and DNA sampled.

    DO SOMETHING! I have joined SayNotoID, my doctor has an instruction that my information is NOT to go on the NHS Spine (for some ward cleaner, if they still have them, to read or for sale to an insurance company).

    The police will NEVER stop demanding more information and power and neither will government. We are already surrendering our children by school fingerprinting and more to the Totalitarian State.

    Magna Carta right have already gone and there's loads more infringements to come ... try getting a list of the Interrogation Centres being set up throughout the country.

    Didn't know about them?

    Wise up! Get up!

  44. Colin Jackson


    43 posts and no-one's said "If you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear"! Must be a new record.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Blimey

    "43 posts and no-one's said "If you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear"! Must be a new record."

    Maybe they're finally starting to understand. Those with nothing to hide are the people with the most to fear.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DNA espionage

    Five civil servants suspended over "DNA espionage' - see this link:

    Not exactly safe. There are people stealing information from it already.

    They were motivated by money - seems likely they would alter the database information for money too. For example, remove criminals or frame innocent people.

This topic is closed for new posts.