Children to ‘face criminal checks’

Tony BlairAll children could face compulsory checks to discover if they are at risk of turning into criminals, according to new plans announced by the Prime Minister.

The controversial proposal would mean checks at important stages in a child’s life, such as the move from primary to secondary school, Tony Blair said.

He also announced plans to further expand the DNA database to include ‘all suspected offenders who come into contact with the police’.

Currently it is only people actually arrested who must give a DNA sample, which remains on record even if they are not charged, or are acquitted.

The plans are part of a wide-ranging review of crime and security policy published by Number 10.

The document said the government wanted to: ‘Establish universal checks throughout a child’s development to help service providers to identify those most at risk of offending.

‘These checks should piggyback on existing contact points such as the transition to secondary schools.’

Other plans set out included publishing efficiency data on the courts for the first time, with the prospect of poor-performing courts facing measures to force improvements.

Another proposal was extending the police’s ability to seize non-cash assets from criminals, such as plasma screen televisions, jewellery and laptop computers.

Shadow home secretary David Davis said the proposals on child checks were an example of the ‘nanny state gone mad’.

He added: ‘We would have great and grave concerns about any extension of the DNA database. This is an admission that Labour have failed on crime and justice.

‘All they have come up with is a swansong to try and secure some sort of legacy for Tony Blair. They should realise that they cannot put right in two months what they have got wrong over 10 years.’

©2007 Associated Newspapers Limited