Human rights group is outraged
British police have a new crime prevention strategy: arrest suspicious children as young as 10, take a DNA sample, and release them. They want to be able to solve crimes that the children commit in later life. Critics compare the move to the Steven Spielberg film Minority Report.
Gathering DNA from everyone is illegal in the UK, but it is legal to keep DNA samples on a database for 12 years from anyone who has been arrested, but not convicted for terrorism or serious sexual or violent offences. Children’s profiles will be erased after six years or when they reach 18.
Last year 386 under-18s had their DNA taken and stored by police in Camden, an inner-city suburb in London.
An officer told the Daily Telegraph: "Have we got targets for young people who have not been arrested yet? The answer is Yes. But we are not just waiting outside schools to pick them up, we are acting on intelligence. It is part of a long-term crime prevention strategy. If you know you have had your DNA taken and it is on a database then you will think twice about committing burglary for a living.
"We are often told that we have just one chance to get that DNA sample and if we miss it then that might mean a rape or a murder goes unsolved in the future."
Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty, said: "The current law has created an incentive for the abuse of police power so that youngsters are being targeted purely for the purpose of stockpiling their DNA for the future." ~ Daily Telegraph, June 4
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