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back to article Scotland allows collection of children's DNA

Police in Scotland will be able to collect and store the DNA of children as young as eight for the first time under a law just passed by the Scottish Parliament. Children who commit sexual or violent offences can have their DNA and other forensic data collected and stored for three years. That can be extended by successive two- …

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Authoritarian socialism alive and well in Scotland

"Police in Scotland will be able to collect and store the DNA of children as young as eight ... Scotland has been held up as a model for England and Wales to follow on what DNA to gather and store, and how."

Let's hope not now the ID Card pushing, civil liberty crushing, privacy hating, state identity managing Labour party are out of power in Westminster.

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Big Brother

see above

Stoomonster, you don't have a clue. The incompetent Labour tossers are not in power in Scotland. Another bunch of tossers are: the Scottish Nationalists. They've been in government since May 2007. And they've done a far better job than Labour's numpties. Which wouldn't be hard.

Oh and BTW, don't think for a second that the new regime in Westminster is going to be any less authoritarian than the useless pricks they replaced. Scrapping ID cards and the NIR was inevitable because of the spending cuts: it's just been dressed up as "civil liberties" to keep the LibDems on-side. The Tories have a hard-on for scrapping the Human Rights Act. They're also making noises about neutering the Freedom of Information Act. The DVLA and councils will still sell our personal data to anyone who asks. The compulsory NHS database lumbers on and on. The Information Commissioner's Office is still toothless. And the latest bollocks about ANPR cameras shows the intentions of our new overlords. The proposals are consultations on how to oversee the use of these evil devices, rather than get them scrapped or even subject to proper cost/benefit analysis.

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Except if you actually read the article

They will be retaining the DNA of children who have been found guilty of committing a violent or sexual offence. I would say that this is actually the correct purpose of a DNA database. The authoritarianism of the previous Westminster incumbents was in the fact that they retained the DNA of people who had not been found guilty of any crime.

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And do the DNA records get expunged...

... when the child turns 18 like with their crimnal record at present?

Not bloody likely...

I guess the fascists in the Labour party didnt die in the last election - they just moved north of the border...

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Labour fascists

"I guess the fascists in the Labour party didnt die in the last election - they just moved north of the border..."

Labour have been out of power in Scotland for some time, there is an SNP administration currently. But don't let the facts get in the way of your rant...

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Hang on chum..

What you...in your red faced daily mail rant head...are forgetting is that these kids are criminals but cannot and will not be punished in the same way as adults committing the same crimes in the same way...At the moment a kid who walks into your house in broad daylight with his mates and steals your TV will get not much more than an ASBO if caught (if the police even bother to do anything more than issue a crime number and comment "kids today 'eh")...

Do you really think that it's somehow a bad thing that records are kept on people who commit serious crimes? Personally I'd like to see ALL serious crimes logged on a permanant record that never gets wiped and stays with you from birth to death. But that would just make a safe a reasonable society where little kids don't smash the crap out of your stuff due to boredom then you get in trouble with the police for shouting at them.

Sometimes I wonder wether you people arguing for *cough* privacy rights *cough* are even slightly in touch with reality...I'd hazard a guess that the only thing you're in tough with is attached to your body about half way down...

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MGJ

Where Does This Myth Come From...

that juvenile's criminal records are wiped at age 18? In Scotland the earliest age at which an offence can come off your record is 40. This may change under the Childrens Hearings bill, but the only records that weed before 40 at present are where there is no proceedings by the Reporter.

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Just for child criminals?

"Children who commit sexual or violent offences ....The new powers relate only to children who are referred to a children's hearing over allegations and either admit them or are found to have committed the acts complained of."

So what's the problem? - It sounds like this is simply retaining DNA from young criminals. Surely no problem with that, this is nothing like the retention of DNA from randomly arrested innocent people that we have south of the border.

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So...

Kids aged eight or so, caught 'playing doctors' will face charges for "sexual offences", now I _really_ _REALLY_ hate to go all daily fail on you, but won't someone think of the children.

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MGJ

Where Do You Get That Idea From?

You may want to have a read of the Sexual Offences Scotland Act 2009 to see what offences could be committed by Children of 8 and the Lord Advocate's guidance, but your glib comment would not be accurate.

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Unhappy

Children admitting to offences without legal advice

"The new powers relate only to children who are referred to a children's hearing over allegations and either admit them or are found to have committed the acts complained of."

From last week's Herald:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/mobile/news/crime-courts/children-s-lives-being-ruined-by-panel-records-1.1038484

"Vulnerable young Scots are unknowingly agreeing to have a criminal record until the age of 40, leaving many unable to get jobs and university places.

Senior staff at the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA), the Scottish Children’s Commission and other bodies, have warned youngsters are being stigmatised by appearing before Children’s Hearings without legal advice and agreeing they have carried out offences.

These midemeanours are then uncovered if, later in life, they have to undergo enhanced disclosure checks...."

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Early intervention?

If anything, I'd have thought it might be *more* important to try and nip reoffending by children in the bud as soon as possible, in the hope they might yet be divertable from a long life of future crime.

Also, as far as civil liberties are concerned, what privacy rights do children really have in practice, given the amount of legitimate scrutiny they can be under from parents and others?

For children who have actually done something seriously wrong, isn't that often down to them *not* being adequately supervised?

The issue of what happens to criminal records later, and who has access to them is certainly one that needs thinking about, but seems relatively distinct from the short-term keeping of data to help rapidly detect reoffending.

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But seriously...

... there are insufficient numbers of children "as young as 8" committing serious offences against the person (either violent or sexual) to require this legislation. An 8-year - in general - does not have the physical ability to commit rape, for instance (and if they do, intention is going to be hard to prove).

I have a serious problem with treating children as small adults when it comes to the criminal law - there are too many assumptions about responsibility and rationality in the law as applied to adults that cannot be applied to children (yes, I did, and do, think that Venables and Thompson were wrongly treated, and that was when the rot set in). Nothing you do as a child of less than 12 should affect the rest of your life as a result of government action. Punishment and/or treatment should be swift, finite, and essentially unrecorded.

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@Intractable Potsherd

>>"Nothing you do as a child of less than 12 should affect the rest of your life as a result of government action. Punishment and/or treatment should be swift, finite, and essentially unrecorded."

I'd basically agree with that.

It's just that keeping DNA/fingerprints on file in the short term could potentially lead to swifter punishment for children who repeat wrongdoing.

What happens with records later is a tricky issue.

Someone who has done something seriously bad when very young but seems to have learned from the experience shouldn't necessarily have it hound them for the rest of their life.

It's easy to imagine some dangerous-but-basically-daft things that kids do and generally get away with having serious outcomes simply as a result of bad luck, or things that could have ended reasonably benignly escalating to something awful as a result of just a tiny lack of self-control.

However, when there's someone who seems to be an unrepentant serial (and likely future) offender), does it make sense to discard some or all of their records when they hit a certain age?

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Nice rant, shame about the facts.

"Scotland has been held up as a model for England and Wales to follow on what DNA to gather and store, and how."

Let's hope not now the ID Card pushing, civil liberty crushing, privacy hating, state identity managing Labour party are out of power in Westminster."

Erm, Scotland's model is held up as a model because it DOESN'T keep the DNA of innocent folk. Unlike the system in England and Wales, innocent people's DNA is removed from the database.

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Scare headline

"Scotland allows collection of children's DNA" and "as young as eight", however if you read the article it turns out that this relates to children who have committed violent or sexual offences. The true worry here is not of the collection of child DNA (which brings up to mind a drop-dead-cute brunette with big eyes, hair band, and pinafore dress...) but more the concept of a person (note, deliberately NOT using the word "child") as young as eight who may be doing such offences.

Maybe this law is more in line with reality than the rampant "Think of the children!" auto-protecting anybody under the age of majority. What do you do when said aggressor is... um... a child? Think of the... no, wait.... um... sh!t.

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Bravo for Scotland!

I have fundamental objections to the UK DNA database and its related nonsense because it treats *everyone* as criminals, whether innocent or guilty.

Scotland, however, has done some joined up thinking and is only holding the DNA of children if they are *convicted* of an offence and if they want to keep it, they have to demonstrate a need for it to be held for more than three years.

That is a sensible use of DNA and model that the English Government should consider copying.

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at the risk of repeating myself...

"The new powers relate only to children who are referred to a children's hearing over allegations and either admit them or are found to have committed the acts complained of."

Although the grounds for referal can be challeged, admitting the allegations (usually without any legal advice - see my previous post on this) is not the same as being convicted in an adult court..

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Ok, so...

... fix the problem with the Children's Hearings (I agree that legal representation should be available), but that's not an argument against what is a sensible and proportionate use of DNA.

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In Scotland

I was under the impression that they take everyone's DNA at the point of arrest, but delete records if you are not convicted. Due to the much smaller amount of data, only retained for actual criminals, their DNA database has far fewer false positives than the one south of the boarder.

As an aside - a criminal age of responsibility of eight years is a disgrace, I hope that they change it to be higher when it's voted on, which I believe is coming up soon.

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