back to article Home Office to keep innocent DNA samples

The Home Office has rejected European Court of Human Rights demands that innocent people should not have their DNA stored on the national database. Instead samples from people arrested for, but not convicted of serious violent or sexual crimes, will be removed after 12 years. The DNA profiles of those arrested but not …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Same mental bitch that bans people that say loopy things infact creates illegal laws counter to not only our nations basic prinicples but also the continents, why the hell can't we put her on a list of hooligans that have wrecked this nation and need dumping on a small island in the middle of the ocean.

    At least Savage just spouts views mixed with some junk that can easily be debunked by anyone with more then 10 braincells (which Smith doesn't have, crazy whack job just keeps falling back on the same old tatt of protecting moral values), this batty witch is wrecking our whole way of life.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Are they joking? Why are they keeping innocents' DNA?

    Wacko smith gth.

  3. Steven

    Rough Translation...

    Jacqui Smith said: "These new proposals will ensure that the all inocent people are on it, and never considering where people should come off. We will ensure that the most inocent of people and childeren are added to the database no matter when or where they were convicted."

  4. Jimmy Floyd

    Good grief

    First reaction: AAAAAARRRRRRRGH!!!

    Second reaction: Who will be the poor sod taking the UK to court next time?

    Third reaction: More to the point, will the British electorate take Wacqui Jacqui to task before the European Court do? It's going to be a close run thing...

    If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear ... except the bungling incompetence of a wannabe-Stalinist government.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Isn't there a clause in the DPA about retaining data for the minimum period necessary?

    I don't actually think that "Until the end of time" is a reasonable minimum period. I cannot actually see "for the offenders life time" being necessary either.

    Why should a person who offends _once_ have their DNA profile retained until they die? How about a retention period of, say, 20 years for a convicted person. If a person doesn't reoffend within 20 years of their first offense I doubt that anyone would call them habitual criminals (or possibly they are very good crims.) But an habitual criminal, one who reoffends regularly would keep restarting the 20 retention, keeping their profile on the database for much longer.

  6. Eponymous Cowherd
    Black Helicopters

    Slightly innocent.

    I see.

    So if I get arrested because someone makes a false rape allegation, my DNA stays on the database for 12 years. If I get arrested because someone make a false allegation of shoplifting it stays on for 6 years, and if I don't get arrested at all I stay off the database.

    The Today programme interview with Home Office muppet Vernon Coaker was quite revealing. He kept saying that studies had shown that those arrested for serious offences went on to commit *further* offences.

    Note that he said *further* offences, even though they hadn't been convicted at all. Nicely illustrates the way Wacky and her barmy army think. "You are all scum who are up to no good. Its just a matter of catching you!"

    Guilty until proven innocent, and even then you aren't quite as innocent as everyone else.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    The argument for keeping the profiles of those arrested but never charged of any crime is that it "will reduce crime in the future". So there you go, the cops arrested you but you didn't do anything THIS TIME, but YOU WILL in the future, as sure is eggs is eggs and now we've got your DNA we will catch you next time Or so our rather rabid Home Secretary seems to believe.

    Sort of Innocentish until found guilty, or is it guilty of something but we don't know what until found guilty?

    Basically it means that once you have been arrested once you are a suspected criminal for the next 6 or 12 years.

  8. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Leading from the Front Benches with a Clear and Unequivocal Endorsement

    "The Home Office has rejected European Court of Human Rights demands that innocent people should not have their DNA stored on the national database."

    If that be the case, then all Members of Parliament and their staff should be immediately required to provide DNA samples to the database and if National Biometric ID cards are to be trialed, also tagged to provided Feedback ......... as it is only right and proper/fair and equitable that they should show an Admirable Pioneering Lead in everything that they would propose to legislate for and defend as necessary.

  9. Bug
    Dead Vulture

    So not guilty does not actually apply anymore

    If it was anyone other than this demented lunatic Jacqui Smith I would be surprised at this.

    It now seems that even if you are proved to be completely innocent of the crime, what you were suspected of will decide how long they want to keep your DNA for. In otherwords as far as that madwoman is concerned just because you somehow managed to be classed as innocent you MUST be guilty of something and the worse the suspected crime is the more guilty you must be.

    Since when did she become a higher power than the EU human rights. Oh sorry I forgot as far as she is concerned we have no rights other than to live in the open prison that the UK is becoming.

    Someone please, please take her out the back and bury her. The lunatics are firmly in control in this mad place

  10. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Leading from the Front Benches with a Clear and Unequivocal Endorsement*

    "The Home Office has rejected European Court of Human Rights demands that innocent people should not have their DNA stored on the national database."

    If that be the case, then all Members of Parliament and their staff should be immediately required to provide DNA samples to the database and if National Biometric ID cards are to be trialed, also tagged to provided Feedback ......... as it is only right and proper/fair and equitable that they should show an Admirable Pioneering Lead in everything that they would propose to legislate for and defend as necessary.

    * How much Simpler can IT be.

  11. Guy Herbert

    Will it satisfy the court?

    Well presumably it will take about 8 years from the date the law IS changed (note the Home Office is not doing ANYTHING yet, just 'consulting') for someone to find out. Plenty of time to grow the database a lot more, and think up some great excuses for, say, universal sampling.


  12. Paul

    But this....

    Just makes it worse. There is no longer the "just incase" argument they used to have. The 6/12 year split highlights the feeling that this mad bint thinks that no-one arrested is inocent, and it is just a matter of getting more evidence next time.

    I do hope that the EU don't cave in this one.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Ok, so....

    Someone explain why we are part of the EU if we are just going to ignore anything that's mildly inconvienient? Why do our gov think they are above the EU courts? Someone needs to arrest them and add them to the database for doing this - I'm pretty sure contempt of court would cover this response ;)

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Not strictly "innocent"

    Keep in mind that when the Police arrest you, the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) will decide whether to press charges based on the potential success rate and cost of the investigation/prosecution, and not the amount of evidence piled against you. In my time with the Police, I saw a ridiculous amount of charges dropped simply because it was a waste of time and money to push them through the courts , because other more serious offences were waiting in line. These included offences like Assault, Theft, Criminal damage and various public order offences. Make your own decision, but if there's a guy who has a history of being arrested for bashing your car up with a baseball bat because he was drunk, he's arrested, his DNA is sampled, and then he's released and not charged - do you think they should keep his DNA?

    Up to you to decide.

    Oh and the 12 year olds on the database are there for a reason - muggings, theft, assault, violent crime, criminal damage - you name it. Most of them end up as career criminals - I don't see the interest in destroying their records? If they never commit another crime they shouldn't have anything to worry about...

    Gentlemen - begin the flaming!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Stupid, stupid woman.

    The European Court of Human Rights has ruled it is illegal for the UK to keep DNA profiles of innocent people.

    The judgement is S. AND MARPER v. THE UNITED KINGDOM, 2008. Go to, select HUDOC Database and search for 'UK DNA'.

    What part of this don't you understand, Jacqui? You are not competent for public office.

  16. Martin
    Thumb Down

    Time limit

    This may be a daft idea, but why not keep it for the same length of time as in the rehabilitation of offenders act? Or is that too joined up for nu labour?

    Oh and no no no to the retention of innocent peoples dna data

  17. Edward Miles

    As much as I hate it...

    ...its quite clever. Comply with the requirements of European judgement, while completely ignoring the spirit of the judgement. Fiendish.

  18. Scott
    Thumb Down


    Was wondering if there was the maths to show wacki how, well not evil, lets say damaging she is :-

    Defence budget / monitoring of Uk public < 1 = Surveillance society

    International budget / monitoring of UK citizens < 1 = Surveillance society

    something like that anyway......

    Oh and to Jacki just 'No', innocent people are INNOCENT.

  19. Juan Inamillion
    Thumb Down

    It's one law for the rich....

    So tell me: Jeffrey Archer did bird for the pretty serious crime of perjury. Is his DNA profile on there?

    Waqui Jaqui gets arrested (hopefully) for fraud over her expenses. Does her profile get taken? Definitely "watch this space" I reckon.

    I don't think the general public realise the full import of this. The UK is now taking itself out of the realm of the European Human Rights Act. It is also reversing a fundamental rule of law - innocent until proven guilty.

  20. Richard

    Bloody Home office

    European court say NO and tell UK to change their Law.

    Home Office make slight change to make it appear they are complying but in reality it's a big 'fuck you, we'll do what we want' to the European Court.

    Get these assholes out of power now!

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Sorry for the language, but...

    Sorry for my language, but this is just taking the fucking piss.

    I hope Liberty, or someone, manage to get Jacqui Smith, Vernon Coaker, etc, done by the European Court of Human Rights for contempt. I hope they get chucked in the slammer for a good, long time.

  22. Ash

    All are guilty.

    When reporting crimes you witness, you become a suspect.

    Suspects get arrested and put on the database for six years, just in case you re-offend.

    What was that? You didn't commit a crime in the first place? You were reporting a crime you witnessed, being a concerned citizen?


    I'll be writing to my MP to bring a vote of no confidence against Jaqui.

  23. Anonymous Coward


    Though not surprising from this terrible government.

    Roll on the election.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The trouble with politicians is........

    They are far more willing to listen to a real victim, or a tabloid editor, than to the rest of us. Can you imagine the headlines generated when it transpires that a serial rapist or child molester gets away with it for years because his DNA keeps getting erased, each time he is arrested for similar offences, but cleared, or not prosecuted for insufficient evidence.

    You and I might say, so it goes, but, any Home Secretary, regardless of political colour, knows that it's easier to stand up to liberals, than political adversaries and tabloid editors when a child or sex crime goes unpunished. Sadly all our politicians are moral cowards these days, and prefer quick cheap and popular, over due process and right. Sorry, but there it is, if you want it changed, become a politician, oh wait, you won't succeed as your views are considered unpopular, even if they are right.

    No matter what you think of the current incumbent of the Home Office, it could have been far worse, and by the way, its possible that most of these things weren't her idea in the first place. It takes a long time to get some of these things through, so for most policies you need to look who was pushing for it five years ago.

  25. Marc Savage

    posts above....

    OMG, I cannot believe some of the posts. Personally I think we should all be profiled at birth.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Kept forever

    Backups never go away.

    Plus of course - politicians and police always lie

  27. Seán

    Now they see it

    In case any of you english types were ever confused as to why any country would ever wish to leave the great and wonderful english empire, you may now be seeing it.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    4th June 2010

    That's the deadline. I can feel the voting itch now. Then goodbye and good riddance!

  29. Anonymous Coward

    6 years? 12 years?

    Would this be acceptable to the European court if it was 75 years? After all, they're only keeping it temporarily.

    The government''s position seems to be that we're all guilty, we just haven't been caught yet.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The point

    You're all guilty of something. It's just a matter of time until they find out what. Then your place on the register will be completely justified.

  31. Richard Cartledge
    Thumb Down

    Want a terrorist for a neighbour?

    Vote Labour!

    (I was arrested and had my DNA and prints taken for typing that)

  32. Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner

    "not serious criminal" different to "not minor criminal"???

    Can someone explain to me how you define the set of people who haven't committed a serious crime, as being different to the set of people who haven't committed a minor crime?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    A title is required.

    The DNA Nazis have arrived

  34. Simon Miles

    This'll be popular...

    While I hate Labour with a passion, the whole DNA database arguement confuses me. If everyone is on the database, it makes bringing criminals to justice that much easier. If someone tells me how i'd happily submit mine for permanent inclusion on the d'base, since i have no intention of ever murdering anyone. Yes, the people they're taking samples from now are innocent (although the guilty are being sampled too) but that doesn't mean they will never commit a crime. Nobody is suggesting that they all will, but statistically SOME of them will, and if they do and a DNA trace is found they will be that much easier to trace.

    Take for example the guy who was released after 20 years in prison for murder a couple of months ago. Upon re-examining the case they have a DNA sample from the killer. So if that person happens to submit a sample they'll get him. If there was a national d'base they'd already know who he was.

    Everyone is getting so touchy-feely about their details being on databases, FFS if you pay tax your details are on a database, if you have credit they're on a database, i'd be much more concerned about these details being abused. If someone leaves a laptop with my DNA profile on it in a taxi and identity thieves get it, what use is it? Unless they're cloning more than credit cards i'm not that worried.

  35. MnM

    All your base pairs are belong to us

    We're all out of options people:

    Step 1) devise flawed DNA encryption technology

    Step 2) experiment upon ourselves

    Step 3) mutate!

  36. Nebulo
    Thumb Down

    Heavy sanctions please, EU

    Untli these criminals are brought into line. That's all.

  37. Andy
    Black Helicopters

    Today interview

    Those commenters who say that the government have created a system where, once you are arrested, you are assumed guilty, will love today's BBC R4 Today interview with Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker (

    He repeatedly says that the advantage of the DNA DB is that it catches innocent people who re-offend.

    No, he really says that. Twice.

  38. Bassey

    Not bothered

    I don't see the bother. Profile everyone and get on with it. As long as it's accepted that DNA evidence alone can't convict I don't see the problem.

    Although I did think the Today interview in which the guy kept stating that people who hadn't been convicted were likely to offend AGAIN was very funny. The interviewer kept trying to help him out but he was just too stupid to realise that what he was saying was wrong.

    Of course, we all know that plenty of guilty people get off or aren't even charged because of costs, time, court priorities etc. But we're also smart enough not to go on national radio and call them criminals :)

  39. b

    Personally I think we should all be profiled at birth.

    Personally I think you should have been drowned at birth.

  40. Fredly

    Innocent until proven guilty went a long time ago

    "It is also reversing a fundamental rule of law - innocent until proven guilty."

    This principle was got rid of when you became responsible for speeding offences in your car - if you couldn't or wouldn't tell the police who was driving you got convicted, even if the police had no evidence to prove it was you.

    This is merely an extension of that.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    thick pigs

    An anonymous pig wrote:

    "If they never commit another crime they shouldn't have anything to worry about..."

    Blighty certainly leads the field in the stupidity of our pigs!

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @A.C. Thursday 7th May 2009 09:30 GMT

    How dare you interrupt our rightous anger at the Mad Witch with actual experience and tough-to-call situations!

    You're not Nightjack, by any chance? The style is very simmilar (

    The difficulty with delete-if-no-conviction is cases like Ian Huntley, who had only allegations, not convictions before murdering Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. Would the Scottish system of deleting after 3 years if innocent be workable?

  43. Paul

    RE:Not strictly "innocent"

    Yes strictly "innocent". You don't dicide whos guilty, nither do the CPS. No trial. Person is innocent. Simple realy. And if you think that is up to the police to dicide then Im glad you no longer work for them. You seem to be one of the people giving the police a bad name. "I got im for being black in the wrong place. The blood is from where he resited arrest. He said "it wont me that done it" then I 'it 'im for lieing"

    Please go and write out 100 times "Innocent unless proven guilty" untill you learn one of the basic pemises of UK law.

    "If they never commit another crime they shouldn't have anything to worry about..."

    Is your DNA on there? And that is not the point, the point is the attitude of people like you, and the government, to treat everyone like criminals. Keep them living in fear and guilt at all times. This will do nothing but keep them unhappy.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Power grab

    ECHR decision are binding. So she's grabbing power away from the courts, power away from Parliament, power away from her boss Brown and basically sticking up two fingers and saying "you can't touch me, I'm too powerful!".

    That's the substance of her position. Civil servants should remember that she cannot demand they break the law. If they do her bidding over Parliaments bidding then they are liable.

    Presumably now, Brown will have to back her, since he cannot sack her. And the Labour MPs in Parliament will put on a brave face and pretend they're happy to be outside of the Human Rights legislation.

    Notice the same backers, Woollas, Balls, Blears, Vaz, etc. are backing HER and not Brown, so presumably they see her as the future leader of the Labour party.

    I think she'll run as a leader against Brown.

  45. Steve

    @ anonymous ex-plod

    "Oh and the 12 year olds on the database are there for a reason - muggings, theft, assault, violent crime, criminal damage - you name it. Most of them end up as career criminals - I don't see the interest in destroying their records? If they never commit another crime they shouldn't have anything to worry about..."

    I was 12 the first time I was involved with the police. A kid blamed me for damaging his school bag (to avoid trouble from his parents) and plod came round to my house and tried to bully me into confessing on the basis that it "would be easier for everyone". Nowadays, I'd be kept on the database solely because of the accusation of a schoolchild.

    Given that I spent my teenage years being stopped and searched by the police on an almost weekly basis I would inevitably have run up against the "no smoke without fire" attitude and the fact that I was on the database would work against me.

    As for "most of them end up as career criminals", care to back that up with some figures? No? Thought not.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Simon Miles

    Simon writes:

    "If someone tells me how i'd happily submit mine for permanent inclusion on the d'base, since i have no intention of ever murdering anyone"

    Anyone can volunteer to go on the database. Simply go to your local police station and asked to be swabbed, it takes a couple of minutes. Good luck with that.

  47. FoolD

    Re: Not strictly "innocent"

    So the justification for undermining the fundamental principle of Innocent until Proven Guilty comes down to cost !? That pretty much sums up UK PLC doesn't it. Everything is target driven - cost / efficiency.

    The side-effect of having to letting "criminals" go because its too expensive to send them to trial does not justify everyone else losing their basic human rights and innocent people being treated like criminals.

    How about fixing the problem and not try to work around the side-effects of it; remove the target-driven systems that don't work and invest in systems that do.

    The many are getting tired of suffering because of the few, and the government's inability to see the difference.

  48. Lee Griffin

    Two things

    I understood a post from amanfrommars, and agreed with it. What is going on?

    @AC 0930 “Not strictly innocent”

    I understand your point, but the thinking is backwards.

    Here are the options:

    “Should we

    (a) improve our Criminal Justice system such that we can properly prosecute and punish all offenders, or

    (b) should we profile the DNA of the entire country?”

    Having the DNA of these people who keep on being released without charge despite doing something criminal is pointless – all it means is the rozzers can arrest him faster without any detective work and then release him without charge again. The point of all that being, well, what exactly. We’ve spent money on keeping his DNA to be back where we were anyway. Then we spend more money fighting the EC. Why not just spend it sensibly.

    Meanwhile genuine innocents caught up in events are on the database forever.

    All it takes is the Government to sort out the criminal justice system, and remove the problem you highlight.

  49. M A Walters

    Re Not strictly "innocent" by AC@09:30

    That depends. Has the person concerned been convicted of a crime by a court of law? The answer in the example you've given is no. So, no, there is no legitimate reason to keep that person's DNA.

    As a country with the rule of law, we don't tolerate vigilantes (for example) regardless of how right their actions may be. Same applies here. Perhaps sometimes our perception of law and justice differs, but that can be resolved by ensuring CPS decide prosecutions on merit, not by "innocent UNTIL proven guilty", but "innocent UNLESS proven guilty". ... By the court of law, not a politician.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two Things

    I personally think that everyone with a criminal record should have to submit a sample and that includes people who have already served time and not had a sample taken. Otherwise samples should be removed.

    Also if the government can defy the European Court on this can't they defy all the other rulings they seem to follow cravenly?

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Manufacturing criminals

    "Keep in mind that when the Police arrest you, the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) will decide whether to press charges based on the potential success rate and cost of the investigation/prosecution"

    Not true, the cost of the prosecution is irrelevent, and the cost of the investigation is already paid for as it has already been done! They consider if the case will get a conviction and eliminate ones that have no chance of success. Typically it's because the officer has really deluded himself as to the strength of the case.

    People whom the CPS won't prosecute are innocent. As are people whom the police arrest, beat up a little, then release without charge, as are people who just protest global warming in a field.

    "Oh and the 12 year olds on the database are there for a reason - muggings, theft, assault, violent crime, criminal damage - you name it. Most of them end up as career criminals - I don't see the interest in destroying their records? If they never commit another crime they shouldn't have anything to worry about..."

    If I pulled you off the street accused you of a crime and beat you up, would you be more likely to take a dim view of the law or less likely? If I kept doing it, you would likely end up a criminal with no respect for the law.

    It brings the law into disrepute.

    The UK system presumes GUILT and MANUFACTURES criminals. For example a student nurse who accepts a caution for being drunk finds she cannot get a job as a nurse.... her viable happy law abiding future as a nurse is taken away from her. If the law abiding future for people is taken away from them, they are more likely to become criminals.

    People like Jacqui Smith & Phil Woolas has created a system that MANUFACTURES criminals. You treat every INNOCENT people like criminals and they BECOME criminals because they have nothing to lose.

    This is why the UK is in a crime way, why stabbings are frequent, why officers can get away with murder and why people are arrested for protests or for WORDS or THOUGHTS.

    It is the product of 12 years of the Nanny State.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Fingerprints too

    It's not just about DNA, dear Reg, the S & Marper vs UK case covered fingerprints as well (see para 125 of

    At a time when the government is using any excuse to get all our fingerprints on file, how come the DNA profiles are the main story?

  53. Richard Wharram
    Paris Hilton

    DNA Sample

    Jacqui's husband is quite the expert on providing DNA samples apparently. Perhaps if we can all claim for a nice little film or two we won't mind handing over a couple of teaspoons of DNA for six years.

    Paris - Duh.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    The criminal firms' reactions...

    Burn crime scenes, burn crime victims*, frame people by covertly harvesting, amplifying and spreading around their DNA. I'm no biologist, so I'm sure there's many more ways to be found.

    This will only end badly, not least because the gov will simply never countenance the possibility that the DNA database will be utterly bollocksed. Even less likely is the gov ADMITTING that to the proles when, not if, firms get the hang of various biological evidence-tampering tricks, perhaps even selling such services to lesser crims.

    After all, political opponents/protesters/intellectuals could use such a defence when, not if, the gov uses such trickery itself, relying upon the public perception that DNA stuff is near-infallible.

    Chopper: Perhaps they're already doing so...

    (* Including uppity coppers that need re-educating. In the old days it was a holiday to intensive care, but at the gov got more brutal, the criminal fraternity reacted in kind.)

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not strictly "innocent"

    " if there's a guy who has a history of being arrested for bashing your car up with a baseball bat because he was drunk, he's arrested, his DNA is sampled, and then he's released and not charged - do you think they should keep his DNA?"

    Is this a troll?

    I'd much rather they did something practical to remove this idiot from circulation before he layed into someone with the aforementioned baseball bat because they objected to him trashing their car. Knowing that his DNA had been kept (although they could not be bothered to prosecute, convict and jail this repeat offender) would be of no comfort.

  56. Luther Blissett

    The causation of behaviour

    If the argument can be made that congenital latent criminality justifies disproportionate retention of DNA profiles, then the same argument justifies it for congenital "socialism", as the "socialists" are clearly antisocial. What we do once we have discovered who are the prenatal latent antisocialists, is another matter, but the arguments for abortion can be run here too. Of course, this policy will have to be implemented gradually, and I would recommend starting with latent obese antisocialists. This is of course for the good of society as a whole. Why should a tribal gang of recidivist politicians be allowed to continue to delude themselves that they are bringing about some kind of utopia by working in the opposite direction to level everything down except themselves?

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Detection stats

    The R4 news summary quoted some sort of home office stats saying that they expected 4,000 fewer crimes to be detected as a result of this change.

    El Reg has previously debunked similar claims. Perhaps you would be kind enough to do the maths on this one?

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Guilt or Innocence

    The problem with this is that it introduces the concept of degrees of guilt into law. OK the Police have always, informally, known who to look out for, who were the bad lads, but this encodes it into the legal system.

    A worrying precedent, IMHO. If you can be found innocent by a court (or even not prosecuted at all) but still, formally, remain a prime suspect for committing an offence in the future then we are on a path where Guilt or Innocence, in the eyes of the law, are no longer the absolutes they have been.

    What next? The Jury finds you innocent of murder on a 11 to 1 majority. You are only 11/12ths innocent and will therefore still go to jail but only serve 2 of the normal 20 odd year sentence?

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    You're all falling for it again...

    Wacky Jacqui is only the mouthpiece. The sacrificial figurehead. Don't be fooled! When she goes (which is inevitable), you can count on the fact that the Whitehall machinery will continue to force the next clueless f**kwit that steps up to the role of Home Secretary to continue with this insidious and evil scheme. The unelected, unnamed shadows that are the civil service are behind this, not the idiots that were voted in.

    Also, watch out for the argument about the original DNA samples being destroyed when it has been converted to a digital fingerprint. So f**king what? How does that make it any more acceptable? It doesn't, but it's a really good way to misdirect and consume the time that the media has available to ask questions.

  60. Anonymous Coward

    Why it is a problem...

    The problem is not the fact that the DNA is stored, as such.

    The problem comes from the following factors:

    * The database is not going to be accurate. Profiles will be linked to the wrong person, present several times, have typos in names... The DNA info itself will be unreliable (contaminated samples or equipment, software error, genuine mutations...)

    * As the database grows the probablility of hash collisions of DNA profiles increases. DNA matching is very good if you have a suspect and want to check he/she was on the crime scene, but is not reliable at all if you match crime scene evidence against a few million records.

    * The belief of the law enforcement and the public will be (is) that "if the computer (the DB) says you're guilty, you must be" because "real" people don't understand concepts like data quality, hashes. The public has also been hammered with the successes of DNA matching but has never really seen info about erroneous matches and their consequences

    * Data in a database can easily be changed/manipulated to forge evidence with no trace whatsoever.

    So if you're ready to submit your DNA for inclusion, please remember :

    *it is only a checkbox away to flag you "convicted", and you'll never know you were until you're in the clink for a petty offence because it so happened you visited a pub last week where a murder happened today, and your DNA was found on the scene...

    *it is only a typo away to have your DNA linked to the worst rapist in the whole universe

    *it only take the policeman whose wife you're meeting every other day to get you in the very unpleasant experience of being detained for 48 days (or whatever the number is today), go to court, probably loose your job before (assuming the justice system works) being cleared because you appeared as "wanted" in the DB

    If, on the other hand, you're not in the db, all that is much less likely.

    Furthermore, I would believe that this DNA DB would in practice, because of its inevitable data quality issues, *reduce* the quality or trustworthiness of DNA evidence.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Surely - Jacqui Smith should be on the database then for "misappropriation of public funds"?

  62. Captain Hogwash

    Vernon Coaker MP

    On BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning this guy all but said, of those arrested but not convicted of a crime, that they were guilty but it just couldn't be proved. Regardless of the merits or otherwise of the DNA database, can people like this really be trusted not to abuse it?

  63. Steve Glover
    Thumb Down

    Wrong end of the telescope

    AC says "Make your own decision, but if there's a guy who has a history of being arrested for bashing your car up with a baseball bat because he was drunk, he's arrested, his DNA is sampled, and then he's released and not charged - do you think they should keep his DNA?"

    Say rather that someone has bashed up your car: no-one saw anything, but the police pick up an innocent person 'cos they don't like his looks or attitude. Now do you think they should keep his DNA?

    (Pollice Verso 'cos Wacqui Jacqui seems to fancy herself as some kind of empress these days)

  64. Old Tom

    Nothing to do with EU

    To your correspondents mentioning the EU - the ECHR is nothing at all to do with the EU - it's bigger than that.

  65. Tim Spence
    Thumb Down

    Misleading sub-headline El Reg!

    "Home Office to keep innocent DNA samples" and then "Hey, it's only for 12 years"

    As you've reported in the article, "innocent" DNA samples are kept for just 6 years, not the full 12 which your sub-headline suggests.

    Never let a fact get in the way of a good attention grabbing headline, eh?

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @simon miles

    If your so confident in our police service go and volunteer your sample now.

    For those of us who have experienced there lying perjurous attempts to gain a prosecution we would probably disagree with your assertion.

    Then lets add the fact that we still use the discredited low copy number tests and bob's your uncle Simon it could be you explaining how your DNA (except it isnt the science is so bad) got to the scene.

    Until you have experienced our criminal justice system you cant really make statements about everyone being on the database. I was on the receiving end of Kent Police's attempts to frame me for something I didnt do and between them and the CPS they wasted 2 years and a quarter of a million quid, occassionally they pop up again and try and get me for something else because they didnt get me last time and there still pissed about it. Its got to the stage where the police force where i now live are actively protecting me from Kent Police and there behaviour because they got bored trying to action arrest warrants for non existent crimes.

    Psris, even she wouldnt let wacky screw her the way she has screwed us.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Of course...

    You could just sign this bad boy:

  68. ElFatbob

    Root Cause - re: Not Strictly Innocent

    AC, interesting and valid points.

    You're right to note out that it is not all black and white and i think that the approach adopted in Scotland goes some way in trying to find and strike a balance.

    However, if we try to drive to root cause, we are inevitably faced with the moral breakdown of society. Lawlessness is prevalent as an societal attitude - (starting with ill disciplined and disrespectful children and working through to the very institutions meant to preserve lawful society - i.e. parliament).

    We have a perfect example of this lawlessness with our parliament's response to this ruling - 'this law doesn't suit us (me), so we're (i'm) not going to obey it'.

    Unsurprisingly, our justice system has stopped serving justice. We see individuals getting only 10 years for murdering toddlers (the weakest in our society and deserving of most protection), and others getting only seemingly slightly lighter sentences for embezzelling large quantities of cash.

    Our solution therefore is to designate everyone as a criminal, that will be caught at some point, and the perfect vehicle to enforce this assertion is the DNA database.

    It's the wrong solution to the problem - we are not all criminals.

  69. Richard
    Thumb Down

    EU law

    fsck me... the one time in which the UK refuses to recognise EU law (as it should) is the one time the EU has a good point.

    Is our dictatorship government just a cunch of bunts or what?

    -- Richard

  70. michael

    @Simon Miles

    I would be happy to be on a data base of "innocent" pepol but that is not what this data base is it is a "criminal data base"

    if the government want a data base of everybody to help solve crimes (for example by telling them everybody who was in a certain taxi) then let them ask for that in there manifesto take that to the houses of parliament and get it enacted.

    what they asked for was a database of criminalises to help prevent reofending and they have expanded it to "everybody we even think might have committed a crime" even if the police are open and honest and only use it as they say then this is not a good thing

  71. Steve Glover

    @Tim Spence

    Well, if you go back and re-read the article, you'll see it's people arrested but innocent of major crimes get to have their DNA in the database for 12 years, while people arrested for minor crimes will have their DNA stored for 6 years if they're innocent....

    (Chap with glasses for Mr Spence)

  72. Anonymous Coward

    @AC: Guilt or Innocence

    I think the problem is more that there are now degrees of innocence rather than degrees of guilt ;-)

    I really wish the tabloids would put as much effort into explaining to people about innocent unLESS proven guilty, DNA profiling (as opposed to genome analysis) and some basic statistical facts as they do into following Kerry Katona and telling us what Jordan's currently up to.

    Then we might not have to put up with the "I would gladly register my DNA and all of my family's as well if it will put one crim away" crowd.

    I thought Jeremy Clarkson had definitively, and in the full glare of publicity, demonstrated that we all have something to hide - even to the hard of thinking!

  73. Dennis
    Thumb Down

    Making life easier for the Police

    My understanding of the Police was they are supposed to prevent crime. Now if they rely on DNA to catch crim's where is the prevention.

    So if you don't have my DNA you have no chance of catching me so I can offend with impunity.

    In 10 years time immigrants will sneak to this country swipe all round them and sneak away again. And where will the police be. Checking their DNA Database looking for a probable match or counting the proceeds of their Speed Camera collections.

    I want a policeman walking along my street. I want to know his name and I want him to know mine. I want him to come and see me when my car gets broken into. Its not too much to ask is it.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Simon Miles

    Just imagine, for one moment, that Every single person in Europe had their DNA samples stored on national databases back in 1939, along with personal details such as poitical alignment, religious beliefs, sexuality, hobbies and interests, shopping habits, etc.etc.

    Would have made the 'ethnic cleansing' of Europe a hell of a lot more efficient.

    Still, if you're willing to place your trust not only in this administration, but in every single administration, then more fool you.

    And even if you do trust them, surely even you must appreciate that this erodes one of the basic princinples upon which our legal system is based? Namely, presumption of innocence until guilt can be proved.

    Or perhaps you're just being clever and ensuring you can't be tried for thought-crimes in the future when the law is changed retrospectively?

  75. Guy Herbert

    @ Eponymous Coward

    "So if I get arrested because someone makes a false rape allegation, my DNA stays on the database for 12 years. If I get arrested because someone make a false allegation of shoplifting it stays on for 6 years, and if I don't get arrested at all I stay off the database."

    Better than that, even. Much more likely than either of those: You are randomly assaulted by some low-life. He, on arrest, as is now standard behaviour, makes a counterallegation that you in fact assaulted him. Police arrest you. They take your DNA. It is a violent crime, so you are on the database for 12 years. Whether or not he is convicted.

    Still, better than for life as currently. (Not that the Home Office is likely to move rapidly from this consultation to do anything at all; though I strongly suspect there might be new powers used to collect DNA from old lags before they do any of the other things suggested.

    @ various:

    The EHCR isn't part of the machinery of the EU. The Home Office has been evading its judgments since 20 years before we even joined the EU.

  76. Simon Miles

    @ AC 11:44

    Actually, i popped up to the station at lunchtime and did it.

    If a substandard system provides a false positive and i am arrested for something i know i didn't do i have the legal right to demand the higher copy test which would prove i was not there.

    If i was on the scene and am innocent i'd already have come forward to give a statement anyway.

    If i spend a night in a cell due to a cock-up i'll obviously be annoyed, but if my inconvenience means a more reliable system I'm happy to accept that.

    90% of the comments on here seem to be complaining about the "innocent until proven guilty" side of it, no-one is saying people arrested and released are guilty, however they are keeping a record of them. Even if they didn't have DNA their details would be on the system.

    I'm sick of people moaning about "the system". All systems are fundamentally flawed, the police are an organisation made up of people, and some people are simply arses. I sympathise with what has happened to you and agree that having not experienced that i cannot comprehend how it must feel, but i think most would agree that the majority of the work they do is worthwhile and your experience is not the norm. I'm not for a moment suggesting it doesn't happen, anyone with any sense knows it does. But the majority are the good guys.

    Anyway, i'm on the register now, and totally happy about it.

  77. Trevor


    Innocent until proven guilty....I like that a lot.

    It is actually "Innocent unless proven guilty".

    The top one is for BOFH's and Wacki Jacqui only.

  78. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @ AC 11:44

    I have your email address here, Simon - I guess you won't mind if I display it to the internet?


  79. Eponymous Cowherd

    @Simon Miles

    You are Jacqui Smith, and I claim my prize.

  80. An nonymous Cowerd
    Paris Hilton

    "innocent" = original DNA sample destroyed?

    just the profile is retained! Now the profile is a (very) lossy approximation to the actual 3 billion DNA base pairs of a human. The reason for keeping the original DNA sample is because <BOLD> the stored DNA profile is not unique </BOLD> each humans' DNA is unique but the profile - being a manageable number , isn't. When there is a false positive DNA profile match from a Slovenian crime scene with the UK DNA profile database this means Mr or Mrs or Child Innocent will be European Arrest Warrant transported ????. IF the original DNA sample was kept then this could be re-profiled at a higher resolution to exclude/include, which is what will still be done for all the 'guilty' samples.

    PH knows more about DNA samples than I do

  81. Dark Ian

    What a sham

    "If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about having your DNA on the database."

    This is a terrible attitude, and one I've seen quite a lot of from commentards on the Beeb HYS facility. I think people like this would think differently if their DNA turned up coincidentally at a crime scene and they were put 'through the mill' in an aggressive, intrusive and embarassing fashion. In fact, these days just reporting a crime to the cops can get you a whole load more trouble than you bargained for.

    Leaving the specifics of this issue aside, the 'trend' is far more worrying. ID cards, DNA, fingerprints, biometric data, email and text message records, etc, etc - where does it end? How long before you show up connected by sheer coincidence to organised crime groups by mutual friends, and then get hauled in suspected of this that and the other?

    Fundamentally we're not solving anything. The gov is trying to push on us things we don't want, with thinly veiled 'benefits' on offer, usually at financial cost to us, and that's before you weigh in the civil liberties.

    Sadface, because I'm so fed up with the blinkered brigade who won't see the bigger picture, and who will end up coughing up enough misguided votes to push us past the point of no return.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I would still be on there

    If this system had been employed previously.

    Scenario: In Leeds city centre on a Saturday (about 7 years ago). I happened across a young woman being beaten by a man. People are walking past and looking the other way because, to be fair, he looked quite scary. I take offence at his behaviour and (because the initial verbal request was refused) made him stop trying to see whether the pavement or said woman's head is harder. When the police finally decided to turn up, I was hit with a truncheon, thrown physically into the car, and threatened by these thugs in uniform.

    I was arrested, charged, and taken to court for assault, ABH and GBH. It was only thanks to a number of passers-by who came forward in my defence that I was not convicted. The police provided "evidence" to the effect that I was an unstable vigilante who needed to be sent to prison as an example.

    (And no, I didn't flatten the guy anywhere near as much as was deserved for what he was doing.)

    Under that scenario, my DNA would be taken and retained for 12 years - I would still be on the DNA db as a "person of interest" (or whatever the phrase is) for "violent crimes", and have the police trolling my sample against every violent incident within a couple of miles of where I live, because that's easier than actually investigating.

    Forgive me for being cynical when I've been on the rough end of the police's idea of what "innocent" means, and their treatment of people they don't like the look of.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Redress the balance

    If TPTB want these powers, then there has to be a cost.

    I propose, if you are locked up for a crime you did not commit, you get compensated 1000 pounds each day your liberty is taken away. yes its tax payer money, so the taxpayers will yell.

    If a user of the database abuses their access, ie sells data on, stitches someone up etc. minimum sentence 10 years , no parole.

    End result, safer convictions.

  84. Anonymous Coward

    Destroying evidence

    The DNA database should ONLY contain the records of those found guilty, anyone who goes to retrial and is found innocent should have their DNA removed. The destruction of swabs etc once DNA is encoded should not be permitted, it's destroying evidence and allows the database to be tampered with and mistakes to be made, the database should be a fast index into physical samples and there should always be the ultimate fallback of checking the actual physical evidence yet it appears they are happy to deny that!

    This is a scary country we now live in.

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Simon Miles

    Good for you, and when the Police start data mining the data looking for criminal Genes you'd best hope you don't have any genetic tendancies, or your children, or their children.

    Also hope they don't start farming their data out to "research" groups like phorm, or medical insurance.

    As worrying as the direct criminal arena may be the real issue is in the inevitable data grab that will be irrisistable to future bankrupt incarnations of our government desperate for revenue streams.

  86. Maty

    So ...

    The cops tell the jury that the odds are 'millions to one' against your DNA matching that at the scene of the crime.

    The fact that as they ran their lossy DNA profile against a database of millions means that the odds are in favour of a match with some poor sucker somewhere, and this time it was you.

    Good luck explaining that to the jury.

    (Didn't the FBI try to nail a preacher who had never left Washington State, USA for the Madrid train bombings on the basis of his fingerprint profile?)

    What is really scary about all this is that the people who are setting up the DNA database really think that they are the good guys. It reminds me of a robot in the sci-fi story who asked the hero 'If we do not know everything about you, how can we best look after you? If we don't know everything about everyone else, how can we fully protect you?'

    It's amazing how regularly the satire of the past 40 years is becoming reality.

  87. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    Jacqui Smith said:

    > These new proposals will ensure that the right people are on it,

    ie everyone possible (well, apart from Wacky Jacqui and other Labour Party Members who have misappropriated public funds)

    > as well as considering where people should come off.

    ie nobody at all.

    > We will ensure that the most serious offenders are added to the database no matter when or where they were convicted.

    Or even *IF* they were convicted at all...

    Talk about taking the piss!!

    If you object to this as much as I do, contact your MP via and make your objections clear!

  88. Martin

    Is it me?

    Or do the posts supporting DNA retention, on here and on other sites, look a bit sameish?

    Our beloved leaders have not hired some firm to post such twaddle, have they?

    Nooo surely not

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A database perfect for framing someone

    Now that we are all on the database we just need to rummage about in the bins at Westminster and collect a few snotty hankies and leave them around our crime scenes.

  90. Anonymous John

    Phantom of Heilbronn

    It's only just over a month since we had this wonderful example of what can happen if you assume that DNA testing is the Holy Grail of criminology.

    All the evidence other than the DNA was dismissed out of hand. It's only a matter of time before this mindset results in a miscarriage of justice.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @AC destroying evidence

    Well - keeping the orginals is all very well - but it does allow the police to seed a crime site with evidence that could be extrapolated (through DNA 'magnification' techniques) to incriminate people. Given the British police's history who would trust them.....

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's always the same

    New powers are always backed by the same argument: not having them makes investigation and prosecution harder. Look at it the other way - when you *don't* have those powers, it's because you *do* have laws which limit your power. There is a reason for that.

    There are nations which have these inconvenient laws, and nations which don't. The only question is, which do you want to live in?

    I propose that we should all be put on the DNA database, and while we're innovating crime prevention why not stop wasting tax-payers' money on trials too? All they do is prevent some people from going to prison. What's the point of that?

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Simon Miles

    I think you miss the point of innocent til proven guilty, or just don't value basic liberty as much as most people seem to. As Ms Bee illustrated, the issue only has to be about privacy.

    If you wanted to provide the police with naked photographs of yourself and access to your diary all in the effort of making their job easier then that would be your choice. In doing so you would be exercising your rights of liberty, a right which means nothing without a right to not do so.

    It is inevitable that peoples rights will not always aid law enforcement. There is no harm caused by taking the DNA of innocent people off the database immediately and it should not be negotiable by time limits, arbituary or otherwise. One innocent persons right to retain control of their personal information should negate any potential benefits to the law enforcement process. If they do not retain that right then you have to come up with a system where everyone is treated equally whether they have been in a criminal investigation or not and then come up with a standard by which invasive non situational investigation methods are allowed on innocent people.

    Personally I think the police struggle too often with the responsibilities they already have, giving them access to everyones private lives seems like a bad idea.

  94. RW

    Jacqui's little secret

    One of the dailies had a comment revealing Mrs. Timney's former occupation as a teacher: a teacher of cookery. Truth of assertion not asserted by me.

    I'll leave it to the rest of El Reg's disrespectful readers to play around with that one.

  95. Jeffrey Nonken
    Thumb Down

    A modest proposal

    Any national identification scheme, not limited to but including any linked to criminal records, starts life by having its database populated with information about the politicians who supported it.

    Rules are for other people. If they weren't, hardly any would be enacted.

    Eat your own dogfood, folks, and then you can make speeches about how wonderful your scheme is.

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Not strictly "innocent"

    Your thinking seems to be that the police - nudge nudge, wink wink - are the ones in the know as to who the real bad guys are, and the rest of us ought to just defer to their vast experience and sense of fair play. Does that about cover it?

    Well, call me Winston Silcott, but given that all it seems to take to get arrested these days is wearing a loud shirt in a built up area, I'd prefer to stick to the old system where people with some demonstrable intelligence decided who the bad 'uns were in a place called a 'court'.

    Public confidence in the police is haemorrhaging at the moment, not least due to the somewhat crappy recent track record on killing, arresting and just generally hassling the innocent. Offering the filth the opportunity to fill in the blanks in their DNA database by arresting anyone they fancy probably isn't the way to get the public back on side.

    I've been given enough needless grief by smug little shites in uniform over the years to think of the police as rather more the problem that the solution. So with all due respect AC PC, FU.

    Paris; far too brainy for the Met.

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re : AC @ 7th May 2009 09:30

    This is a typical plod view point. It's British and Breathing, therefore (sorry big word) must be a criminal.

    You say that you were a Plod but seem to disregard the FACT of British law that if you have not been found guilty in a court of law then you are NOT a criminal.


    That there may be a problem with the courts and the CPS does not alter this fact.

    And please tell me why a person who makes a single mistake should suffer for it for the rest of their life. Wasn't there something in the peanl reform acts about trying to rehabilitate offenders?

    Habitual criminals need to be punished / rehabilitated. It is the PLODs job to nick these bastards and it is the CPS' job to take them to court. If both parties, or either, is not fulfilling their function then they need to be replaced. If either organisation had to operate in a true comercial environment then they would both have been ditched for uselessness years ago.

    Now for all plods (ex, current & future), the CPS and the Home Secretary. JUST BECAUSE WE'RE BRITISH DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE CRIMINALS.

    Now fuck off out of my life!

  98. John Smith Gold badge

    A few numbers might help

    This comes from the Channel 4 news report in Dec08 when the Court found against the English, Welsh and NI systems. The system in Scotland was not felt to breach the charter on Human Rights. The 17 judges decision vote was 17-0.

    Home Office stated that in the period may01-Dec05 they had c200k profiles of people who either had charges dropped or were acquitted after trial. 8500 profiles from 6290 actual individuals were *linked* to 14000 offences. That included 114 murders, 55 attempted murders, 116 rapes. They talked to the National Policing Improvement Agency who run the DB about what "Linked" means.

    It means someone who appears to have been present and left a profile. The NPIA stated "there are *no* figures centrally on how many innocent profiles led to actual convictions"

    So 3.145% (roughly 1 in 32) of the innocents also left DNA at *other* crime scenes, all told. Not charged, not found guilty, just *present*.

    Meanwhile 200k has become 850k.

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jacqui's little secret

    Strangely a number of the Cabinet do not have qualifications or a background for the position they hold, this is true of the current and last finance ministers.

    However, WJ does have a degree in Economics, so the next cabinet reshuffle, who knows!!!

  100. Ascylto

    Real life

    Here's a real life story. It's mine so I can verify it.

    Some years ago I was "investigated" for a serious sexual offence. I was charged and taken to court. The only "evidence" was hearsay but the CPS decided to prosecute because they had been having some success in prosecutions of this nature. I went through all the Police interviews without a lawyer, naively believing that all I had to do was tell the truth (nothing to hide - nothing to fear!).

    The judge threw out the case even before a jury was sworn. Even prosecuting counsel agreed I could not have a fair trial and I was found Not Guilty on all charges. I was innocent then and remain innocent to this day. Nonetheless, my DNA will remain on a database for at least 12 years.

    I cannot explain, especially to those of you who theorise about retention/non-retention, just what this does to an innocent person. My health has dramatically declined and I have an overwhelming fear of the Police, the CPS and the Judicial System in this country. I now regard the Police as potential enemies and would never offer them assistance. I keep all receipts - hundreds of them - in case I need to explain where I was at any given time. My privacy, a wholly misunderstood right, has been invaded and now resides in a computer somewhere.

    The Police were so lazy they didn't properly investigate. One simple example ... an accuser said an offence took place at night and a certain DJ was playing on the radio. I (not the Police, note) checked with the BBC who confirmed that programme was never broadcast at night. Why didn't the Police discover this lie?

    I found out, because of legal process, that the Police list accusers as people against whom an offence HAS BEEN committed, and the accused as the perpetrator of the offence. They've made their minds up already!

    I won't bore you with further details but assure you that the notion of "Innocent until proven Guilty" has long ago gone from this country. Many Police officers believe, along with some politicians, that innocence is a relative issue and that they will be proved right in the end. Those of you who believe there's no harm in the Police State which is already here really should try to think the whole thing through.

    Under Labour, EVERY offence (and that includes dropping litter) is now an arrestable offence and the Police are obliged to take DNA sampling for EVERY arrestable offence.

    The political aim is to have a DNA database of all persons in the UK. They're winning.

  101. elderlybloke
    Black Helicopters

    It has finally arrived in UK

    1984 that is.

    I expect it will arrive down here in New Zealand shortly.

    Remember , don't talk in your sleep, you never know who might be listening.

  102. Phil


    In Ontario, radar controlled cameras for speeding tickets are banned for exactly that reason. "Innocent unless proven guilty": no proof of who was actually driving = no conviction. Only when the police actually have contact with the driver can a ticket be given.

    I live in France now, where not only do you get a fine from an automatic radar, but also points taken off for even one or two km/h over the limit. Apparently there are tens of thousands of drivers with suspended licences that don't even know, having never spoken to a police officer. The standard practice is, upon receiving the notification, to claim that is was Grandma driving, so that she loses the points(being blind and shut up in a home, she doesn't care)!

    *looking for my papers, monsieur le poulet!

  103. Kevin

    One problem with databases.

    Is often user's have a very poor understanding of set theory, and eventually will believe that "SELECT * FROM GuiltyUntilProvenInnocent" is an accurate and acceptable subsitute for actual investigation and evidence - why bother looking for suspects not in the database when you can just expand your WHERE clause till you get a shifty looking supsect match.

    There is a prevailing "CSI on telly" attitude that you can get a 100% accurate database record in seconds, including their name, picture and what they had for breakfast, in seconds from a magical system, the GUI of which would actually display the records its searching in real time for your users delectation!!! In reality I am sure the databases are not that clean, the algorithms to match are not that infaliable, the GUI's not that ridiculous and the operatives not that smart (or attractive).

  104. Anonymous Coward


    *** If i spend a night in a cell due to a cock-up i'll obviously be annoyed, but if my inconvenience means a more reliable system I'm happy to accept that. ***

    Obviously you are either ignorant or extremely selective in your argument. There are many issues with your propositions and even though they have been thoroughly discussed by other commentators above you quite happily ignore them.

    One more thing however is the idea of a "night in a cell" - you have apparantly also conveniently missed out on the discussions related to how many days a suspect can be held in this country without charge... If you would be unfortunate to get (wrongly) arrested in a serious crime case I can only wish you good luck with your vain hope of staying one night... perhaps people higher up in the political hierarchy would really only stay one night in this type of case - but for most of us it is likely to be MUCH more than one night only... never mind all the other stuff with innocent until proven guilty - which you happily ignore anyway..

  105. Secretgeek
    Thumb Up

    I got as far as....

    ...'All Your Base Pairs Are Belong To Us.'

    And I figured nothing else in these comments is going to beat that. Thanks MnM

  106. John Smith Gold badge



    If he copies out "Innocent unless proven guilty" that is the Police view of the quote. Anyone they arrest is clearly Guilty, *because* they arrested them. Those dumb Juror hoes are there to agree with us. Because (naturally) we *never* make mistakes.

    The expression for the presumption of innocence is "Innocent until proven guilty."

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ Ascylto

    Your not alone in what it does your behaviour.

    I do the same, along with covert recording/video if I am near my accuser (ex wife !), live real time vehicle and mobile tracking etc etc the list goes on.

    Its a great way to lead your life and is only needed thanks to the incompetence of the Police and CPS.

    If you are arrested for something you are guilty, they just need to find a way to prove it. That includes getting other plod to write corroborating statements that would need time travel to be accurate.

    Find your own evidence your innocent and its deemed "inadmissable", ask the plod/CPS to look at it and your told "its not relevant to your case" which actually means its not relevant to them prosecuting you.

    Get the evidence anyway and let them know you have it and the fur really flies and they get really hacked off. I still laugh at one letter the CPS sent when they thought we had obtained what they didnt want us to have, they really were not happy to have there case undermined by the truth.

    Paris, at least she is honest

  108. John Smith Gold badge

    The Crown Prosecution Service

    Is so called because it *prosecutes*. It has *no* interest in finding evidence that will acquit you. Finding evidence is the job of the Police. Finding evidence to clear your is the job of the lawyer for the defence.

    However it astonishes me that either the Police or CPS don't perform even *basic* sanity checks on the people and evidence they are relying to get a conviction. It seems the assume the witnesses (that agree with them) are *always* telling the truth and the ones who don't are lying (Barry George comes to mind as a sample of eyewitness testimony).

    And I'm sure Reg readers know what happens when you assume things.

    Still if your normal looking, reasonably articulate and have a half way competent lawyer you should be acquitted. No harm done, right? Yes I am being sarcastic.

    Of course if you're quite large and sinister looking with learning difficulties you'll need a damm good lawyer to get you off first time round.

    Mine is the one with the freshly vacuumed out pockets, which hasn't been hung up in a ballistics testing lab for 18 months and a copy of Joe Orton's Loot in it. Richard Attenborough shows how an old school policeman gets a result.

    You'll be clutching yourself with mirth.

  109. Timothy
    Thumb Down

    Missing the Obvious

    A) What if someone hacks the database and changes the DNA

    b) Do any on you really understand DNA? Take DNA samples from family members and get back to me on a "definite"criminal

    Look here:


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