In London the Met police have been rounding up and arresting children as young as ten who have committed no crime, for the purpose of getting their DNA on record. A FOI request has revealed that in 2008, police in the Camden area arrested and took DNA samples from 386 under-eighteens in a practice they describe as a “long-term crime prevention strategy”. This big fishing expedition will furnish the UK database on children with DNA records which will be held for six years or until the kid turns eighteen.
The European Court Of Human Rights has come into conflict with the Home Office over the extent of British plans for a National ID Database, which stores DNA data amongst other biometric details. In December 2008 at the ECHR in Strasbourg a panel of seventeen judges unanimously condemned British powers to hold DNA data of all arrestees indefinitely – and regardless of the seriousness of the alleged crime – as ‘blanket and indiscriminate’. The judges ruled that some 857,000 innocent people should have their DNA data deleted. The Home Office is fobbing the ECHR off by only slightly watering down their plans and will still store samples of those arrested (but not convicted) for serious crimes for twelve years, and keep DNA data six years for those arrested (but not convicted) of minor offences. Those who are convicted will have their DNA information held indefinitely.
The National Identity Register (See SchNEWS 466) and the Children’s Act 2004 – which saw the creation of a database for every child in the country (See SchNEWS 452) are just two components of the grand Neo-Labour vision for an Orwellian British state, and no doubt the Tories will be happy to carry on the good work if they get in.