Three cheers for the Police Paternity Database!
OK, so the police are slowly building up a database of the DNA of everyone who comes into contact with them, and presumably have a fairly complete database on the familial relationships of everyone in the UK. So, they know who everyone's brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and uncles are, right?
Err no, they don't.
As far as is known (and the police could probably comment more authoritatively on this) between 2% and 15% of children are not sired by the person who is officially their father. The rate is lowest where the husband is high status (i.e. really rich and powerful) and highest where the husband is low-status (i.e. on benefits, poor, a regular "customer" of the police).
This has two implications. Firstly, there will be an error rate for the statistics of around 10% or thereabouts, which will force the police to go back to basic police work to secure convictions, and may free the odd criminal on appeal.
Secondly and more sinisterly, the database will also be proof that certain people were not fathered by their official daddy, which is proof absolute of infidelity.
This might just be a show-stopper; if the data ever gets out, and given this Government's record on data security this is pretty near certain. When investigating a crime, an outsider could even, by a process of deduction, work out that a family member who _should_ have been arrested but was not arrested could not be sired by the same father hence was someone else's bastard.
This sort of information leaking is not what the database was designed for, and should probably limit its use to straight identification, unless the police wish to dice with the moral and ethical conundrums that come with sensitive medical data. My guess is that they simply have not thought it out and would rather not face the problem until it bites them, which is a very silly attitude to take.