back to article Minister deploys 'dodgy' DNA case study

Crime and policing minister David Hanson put forward five case studies to a select committee, but due to an "administrative error" one was a copy of one of the other cases with the name altered. Hanson wrote to MPs on the parliamentary committee in relation to the crime and security bill, laying out five cases to support the …


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  1. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!
    Thumb Down

    Government? Falsifying evidence?

    Surely not.

  2. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    The government fabricating statistical data to support their agenda?

    Surely not.

  3. Armus Squelprom

    Outrageous Delay

    "The European Court of Human Rights ruled against the policy of indefinite retention in late 2008" and our supposedly pro-freedom & dignity govt is *still* trying to find excuses to continue the harvest.

  4. Anonymous John

    The title is required, and will be retained for six years.

    I thought the ECHR ruling concerned retention of DNA from the innocent. This Dutchman is claimed to have committed a crime in 2006.

  5. Thomas 18
    Thumb Down

    6 years...

    Should be long enough to get that ruling overturned and permanent storage approved

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ensign Hanson

    Ever heard of David Hanson? Me neither, you know in Star trek when an Ensign you never heard of beams down with Capt Kirk and you just know he will die, because he is a no name person sent down to crash and burn....

    Ensign David Hanson reporting for duty Capt!

    If the first and fifths are dupes then likely the other 3 are dodgy in some other way, perhaps the details are lies, or the detection attributed to DNA that would have been / were detected another way.

    But still, Government lying to Parliament? Who would have thunk it.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Of course...

    this couldn't possibly happen in court.

    Could it?????

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    so they could only *find* 4 cases where it mattered?

    Given the effort the Home Office (or rather some of the senior civil servants with the colosal hard on for personal information) have fought this you'd think they'd be up to their *necks* with case files to *prove* that hanging onto everyone and anyone's DNA solves nearly crime.

  9. Adrian 4 Silver badge

    I can see that

    So case 1 gets the names changed, then someone picks up both versions, thinking they're 1 & 5. An easy mistake to make .. and easy enough to apologise.

    But doesn't it mean that one of those cases still has the real names on ?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If 5 cases were needed

    The Home Office which represents one extreme side of the DNA argument thought that 5 cases were needed to show why DNA of innocent people should be retained.

    Yet they could only show 4.

    Ergo they failed, even by their own extremely minimalist criteria, to show the case for retention of DNA of innocent people.

    I'd remind you that the Home Office thought there was no downside, and DNA experts warned it would be used for profiling and denying peoples rights without scientific basis.... then the Home Office started using DNA to deny people claiming asylum from being considered... and experts explained that it was to deny people their rights without scientific basis.

  11. Dazed and Confused

    Admin errors

    never occur so it is quite acceptable to retain DNA data for ever since it will only ever be used correctly and no mistakes in handling will ever occur.


  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's ALL dodgy...

    DNA science is valuable in all sorts of ways. Used forensically, it's dodgy by definition. Especially when the whole scene is dominated by politicians and police officers whose scientific credentials scarcely exceed primary school level. To say nothing of the kind of mind-boggling, unbelievable incompetence that produced this situation.

    Arthur C. Clarke said the any advanced technology may be indistinguishable from magic - and this is certainly the case when DNA science meets politics and Mr Plod.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You'd hope, wouldn't you?

    That the Shadow Home Sec would already know that the Home Office argument was feeble. But perhaps that is like the way they're not allowed to call each other liars in the Commons, which has always seemed to me clear proof our Government has it''s priorities wrong, thinking what is important is cosmetics rather than principles. But Black Rod etc and the way they dress in High Court (and STILL being a monarchy) already showed that beyond question.

    The thing - what is wrong with British Government (NOT just this one, or indeed _British_Government) - is thinking the ends justify the means.

    That is the real, public, argument we should be having. The US too. And Australia. I mean, before we get to the issue of whether the various policies actually work. You might say this is the question that gets to the very root of Western Civilisation.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    And in other news............

    Birds fly, fishes swim and shit stinks.

    Jesus-H-Christ-on-a-bike. Nu-Lab/Tory/Lib Dem MP lies to Parliament to "prove" that their pet project works. Hardly breaking news is it?

    Whatever next? Party leaders prostituting their children and their image as family men in interviews to make themselves look "normal", oh.....

  15. Winkypop Silver badge

    A politician, make things up?

    Oh no they wouldn't

    Oh yes they would!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Or even...

      ... with an up-coming election... Look out behind you !?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Endemic ineptitude

    Either inept for doing it or inept for not making a better job of it; either way it hardly puts a sparkle on the well tarnished reputation of for competence.

    At every opportunity some minister or another will bang on about how 'vital' it is that we're all added to this and the data retained till the year 11 million, yet when pressed to find five reasons why this is absolutely necessary, they can only scrape four and have to fudge the last. I've heard better excuses from students. They could only top this by admitting the other four were entirely fabricated, or perhaps lifted verbatim from an episode or two of CSI.

  17. Graham Marsden

    Even if the four cases of rape are valid...

    ... it does not provide a justification for retaining the DNA of *every* person arrested unless the Government is accusing us *all* of being potential rapists...

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @Graham Marsden

      "..unless the Government is accusing us *all* of being potential rapists..."

      This is NuLabour your'e talking about. Certainly some of it's more extremist wimmin members are *definitely* thinkg that way. You fit the profile

      You're a man.

      You have a penis.

      It's literally true that *every* man is a potential rapist.

      But what of right to privacy? What of innocent unless proved guilty? When did starting the trial process without an accusation ( I'm *sure* we'll find you chargable with something) because it's *convenient* for bureaucrats to do so start?

  18. N2

    administrative error?

    My arse, as Jim would say

  19. Lasse Saikkonen

    Planting evidence

    What I am wondering is, how long before someone makes a glove that collects DNA samples just by shaking someone else's hand and then leaving the trace DNA on a crime scene? Or maybe leaving the DNA of dozens of people at the crime scene? Surely that would be basis for reasonable doubt in a trial?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      All that takes is a vacuum cleaner, or even the bag from one... Or pinch a loofah - DNA all over it... Hair from bars of soap or combs.

      Even without cheating, the possible range of perfectly plausible explanations for anyone's DNA being at the scene of a crime are endless, even if the match is correct, which is far more open to question than police ever admit. Stuff like blood or skin under a victim's nails is far harder to fake, but even then the question of accurate matching is raised - the chances of a mismatch are far from the millions to one claimed by police, and I certainly wouldn't convict anyone on that alone.

      And that's even without the kind of criminal incompetence that led to this particular topic.

    2. sed gawk Silver badge

      Why Bother

      Perhaps a discarded cigarette butt would provide sufficient misinformation if the intention is simply to plant DNA, boxes of suitable "evidence" freely provided outside of many public buildings.

      Given the respect cost/benifit of a DNA/DB vs >1000 new coppers/frensic support staff/ that the politians are all too thick to understand the DNA/DB is a rubbish idea with serious flaws that vastly outweight the rather scant benifits, is hard to swallow.

      The political truth is they have signed the vendor contracts and spent the kickbacks, come what may they must extract some return from the DNA/DB.

      In the context of admitting you've sawn through the thick end of a couple of hundred million, (too lazy to look up the real figure, but am feeling generous) with nothing but an unfavourable verdict from ECHR to show for it, fabrication/sexing up of evidence is pretty small beer.

      I'm impressed they were even handed enough to include the obvious "administrative error", while submitting evidence to support the contention that DNA/DB would *prevent* administrative error.

      Their fail warms me as I have long believed that incompetence will protect the populce from the ambitions of the pointy haired politos, ie they are collectively rubbish to the point where almost any scheme they attempt fails no matter how hard they try or how many laws they pass. They really want to get some value out of DNA/DB so QED it must turn out to be a shambles.


  20. Anonymous Coward

    Back to school

    Reminds me when I was in school and had to hand in a geography project. I hadn't finished it, but "left in" loads of blank sheets of paper as padding so that it looked like a full project to the other kids when I handed it in. I got a bit embarrassed when the teacher pointed out my "mistake" to everyone!

  21. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    @sed gawk

    "Their fail warms me as I have long believed that incompetence will protect the populce from the ambitions of the pointy haired politos, ie they are collectively rubbish to the point where almost any scheme they attempt fails no matter how hard they try or how many laws they pass. They really want to get some value out of DNA/DB so QED it must turn out to be a shambles."

    Never rely on incompetence.

    It will always let you down in the end.

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