31 posts • joined 1 Aug 2008
Sorry to interupt your flaming but...
being convicted of a CRIMINAL offence doesn't entitle the victim to restitution - that would be up to each victim to take a CIVIL case themselves.
For better or worse its the way the legal system works, has done for some time and will continue to do whether you read about it on The Register or not.
AFAIK Barristers for the prosecution are all self employed, so is it better for the guilty party to pay their fees, or the taxpayer? I think the former personally.
Isn't everyone who requests an appeal "defying" the courts?
When the amount of "children" tasered is placed beside the amount of "children" that have been convicted of a violent crime and found to be out of kilter then I might be concerned. but since I know the latter will vastly outweigh the former I'm not.
I couldn't agree more. Given the choice between another camera or a well trained professional policeman on the beat I'll take the latter every time.
@ AC 11:36
RIPA has nothing to do with the seizure of CCTV evidence in the terms you're talking about. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act allows a constable with REASONABLE GROUNDS to seize evidence of an offence and retain it for the duration of the investigation
The burden of reasonable grounds is dependant on caselaw but this in itself is quite a broad power where, as Mr Ozimek I think pointed out in another piece, the evidence is possibly 1 file on a PC or server that you need to conduct your business. you can apply to the court to have property returned and you've a fairly good chance in the case of seizure of a computer system or whole CCTV appliance. - Seizing whole CCTV systems is only done as a last resort I understand in cases where not to do so may result in the loss of evidence.
In fact the rest of your post and the reference to needing a warrant implies you don't know all you might about police powers so I'll not labour the point. Have a read of the PACE act if you're genuinely interested. But prepare to be aghast as its probably worse than you thought.
@TIM: Yes its saying your CCTV has to be of a standard (otherwise why bother you have to ask). It imposes more positive obligations on the citizen but this isn't without precedent. Its similar to making it an obligation to tell the vehicle licensing agency when you disposed of your car, or that amazing bit of legislation RIPA. Though not all bits are enacted yet it imposes a LOT of responsibilities on service providers, a subject of some comment on El Reg and elsewhere. Compare the need to have 60 days of CCTV to the obligation logs of ISP customers for YEARS.
Mr Ozimek knows my form (though I'm not expecting a birthday card this year). All I'm saying is that no one is polishing their jackboots in anticipation of this particular draft proposal.
Bad laws happen. In my view a law that cannot be enforced realistically shouldn't be on the statute books and the emerging trend of offences becoming absolute - without requiring an unlawful mens rea - is far more worrying.
John John John...
As you well know there is no law that makes things available to police on request. If CCTV has EVIDENCE of an OFFENCE then police have the power to seize that evidence for the purpose of investigating that offence. So there's no extension of powers required there.
You're jumping at shadows, a draft report? You know as well as I do some of those reports never see the light of day in ANY way once someone with a bit of wit reads them. So saying the contents may be "quietly dropped" while sounding sinister, is really meaningless.
...new and draconian penalties for individuals who sell alcohol to under-age purchasers... those who sell to young persons could be fined up to £2,500 (presently £500).
So is the "draconian powers" of which you speak the power to fine them £500? Or the power to remove the licence from a retailer than is shown to be repeatedly breaking the law and the terms of that licence? Yes, we're one step away from Nazi Germany on that one.
Lets be realistic here, you find me an off licence or bar that DOESN'T have cameras already. Because despite what the tinfoil hat brigade will say about it making no difference CCTV does reduce crime.
If it doesn't why does almost every shop in the land spend so much of their own money installing and maintaining it? Are they ALL just stupid?
So really the emphasis might be said to be - your CCTV should be of a certain minimum standard and keep footage for 60 days rather than the more common 28 days. Has the price of Hard drive media gone up when I wasn't looking?
I can see where you're coming from, there is a sense of "mission creep" here in relation to licensing regulations but I wonder how that relates to the introduction of 24 hour drinking? By any chance do you know how well that's gone in respect of alcohol related crime? Just curious.
Its not CCTV related so might not be your bag as such but if you want to see some genuinely sweeping powers in relation to licensing have a look at part 1 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act. Now that's proper scary. How would you like the police to be be able to:
Ban you as a person from entering a bar or club that sells alcohol for up to 2 years
Demand additional money from licence holders in an area and use that money to take steps to reduce disorder (like installing additional police CCTV?)
Designate an area as a disorder zone and serve a notice on bars prohibiting them from selling alcohol for 24 hrs.
Demand that anyone under 16 leave the area and not return within 24 hours. Sort of like martial law.
Mad eh? This isn't a draft law, its been passed already. But the powers in it, much like the RIPA act, have mostly yet to be used.
And again I'll say I'd like to see a comparison of who is watching us more, the police or Ronald McDonald and co.
The battleground of OSS
This is something I wish it were possible to get entusiastic about because the thruth is there is a HUGE oppertunity for the open source and open standards community to provide the best solution.
Open standards are particularly attractive because it would mean that each force could keep whatever weird and wonderful way of doing things and still be able, through agreed export formats, to communicate and share information with every other force.
But it'll never happen. In the public sector there just isn't the expertise. Its too easy to go with the Microsoft option. Ironically this then becomes more of a millstone because being a public body the hardware on the desktop is kept alive as long as it possibly can be even while m$ pushes out patch after patch to bloat the os and slow it down.
Add to that the version of office being used is either out of support or the new version that is crippled by the now out of date by 5 years machines its installed on.
Lightweight, free, customisable software that will run quickly on legacy hardware is exactly what the doctor ordered.
strict liability *shudder*
A law that the police wont understand, a file sent to a CPS who wont understand it, to be decided on by a Director who wont understand it, arraigned before a judge who wont understand it and tried by a jury who will think "pervert" and convict on sight.
No wonder it has to be an offence of strict liability!
Which for me is more sinister than all the CCTV and databases in the world. Strict liability seems to be an increasingly common short cut for the government (and I haven't been paying attention to see if the Tories did it as well) to pass broad sweeping and poorly thought out legislation.
As for streaming/possession my interpretation would be that while the stream was being viewed the viewer is possessing it, even as pixels on their screen. But then you're talking about viewing and possessing being the same res gestae - "two bites of the cherry" which unless the burden of proof is different, i.e. viewing for the purpose of gratification versus the strict liability of possession its a bit moot.
If the law was such that the CPS had to prove an INTENT to produce the images for the purposes of sexual gratification then that would make sure it was used only in the most severe and appropriate cases and would, in one simple step, protect those who are genuine artists.
Big shopkeeper is watching
You know the VAST majority of CCTV cameras aren't run by "the authorities" but are privately bought and run by businesses, shops mostly. Your local westfield shopping centre has more camera than your local council. And that doesn't count the cameras installed in each shop by the tenants. And don't even start me on petrol stations, with their numberplate readers!
Boycott these shops who have no right to treat YOU like a criminal who is going to steal things?
Mr Ozimek - I'd be genuinely interested in seeing some statistics on the % of CCTV that is police run, since it seems to be your specialist subject - fancy it?
"The Rozzers should not be dictating what laws and rules they want, nobody elected them, they don't answer to the public"
I'll refrain from just calling you stupid for that argument and just say you're just ignorant of both the law and local government. Do a bit of googling and take a look at licensing regulations and police authorities. If you don't agree with how the police are run in your area what are you constructively doing about it?
UK ahead of the game... for a change
Grooming is already illegal under UK law and has been since 2004. In answer to Adam's question the grooming is proved usually by the lengthy chat logs with stuff like "I can't wait till we meet so I can spend the night with you" etc. to prove the intent. The definition of grooming is in fact very broad in legislation, as it should be (I disagree with the AC here) to cover chat rooms, msn, txt, second life, forums, VoIP, whatever. It isn't talking to children through whatever medium that is the offence, its the relevant INTENT, which is pretty much a cornerstone of UK law. And its for the prosecution to prove that intent, a difficult thing to do so hopefully ensuring only the clearest and worst cases make it to court and not everyone who's ever made a smutty remark to a 15 year old.
A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if having met or communicated with another person (B) on at least two earlier occasions, he intentionally meets B, or travels with the intention of meeting B in any part of the world,at the time, he intends to do anything to or in respect of B, during or after the meeting and in any part of the world, which if done will involve the commission by A of a relevant offence and B is under 16, and A does not reasonably believe that B is 16 or over.
Arrests and charges are not prosecutions
I wonder how many people have been prosecuted though, as opposed to arrested or charged, both of which are only used when there's some necessity, to prevent further offences, or take someone dangerous away from the public.
There's not many people arrested or charged for speeding either but thousands of prosecutions for it.
I say that as an interested party by the way, I would gladly pay £300 for perfect reception at my house which is just a bit too far to get decent signal quality anywhere but the kitchen.
If <insert mobile operator here> would give me permission I'd snap it up. After all 250 sqm is only a 9m radius so unless the cows complain it wouldn't bother any of the neighbours.
Like all management, woefully ignorant
Clearly noticing that Detective Superintendent Charlie McMurdie is in fact a WOMAN is a bit of detective work some of those posting comments aren't even capable of.
An alternative proposal: A single stand alone (write once only?) certifiable drive cloning device.
So police arrives, takes the hard disk from each of your computers and clones it byte for byte onto a drive or any sort of media that can be exhibited.
Of course you still have the remote storage problem if your illegal booty is on "the cloud" but at least there might be cache files if the miscreant isn't all that clever. And lets face it, if they were then the police wouldn't be at their house to begin with.
The problem with a copy as an exhibit is that it will need either a change in the law or at the very least clear and agreed guidelines for the judiciary so that the information obtained from then can be accepted as being of the same quality as the original. There are issues with privacy as well, but eh problems associated with retention and exclusion of legally priviledged material are not insurmountable, and certainly not new.
It certainly does take some steps to reduce the intrusiveness and disruption to a suspects life an business. So while police can say that at this date and time these computers contained this information the suspect can carry on without being without what might be vital equipment. The alternative is the PCs sitting in a storage facility till the case comes to trial, and beyond. And if you consider an employee of a company being the suspect and not the company itself you can imagine the implications for the business.
The issues with long analysis times are not unique to PC examination. Analysis of DNA from apparent blood let alone low copy number can take a significant time, even fingerprint analysis is not quick. But as with everything, capability will be dependant on demand. As the requirement grows and becomes perhaps a viable market for private providers then it'll get better.
But in a climate where fraud is not given significant resources or attention from the government and media its only to be expected that those given the training and equipment, both of which are very expensive, within any force will be limited.
And don't forget investigating this sort of crime is complex and costly. Now from the police's point of view that doesn't matter they have a duty to carry on but most financial institutions recognise the time and cost involved in obtaining sufficient evidence for a reasonable chance at getting a conviction is often much higher than the cost of the fraud itself so they don't bother. Policing is a resource limited by statute so at some point the decision comes down to: Do we apply resources to finding the murder or the scammer who got away with money from a bank who aren't interested in trying to get it back?
Wasn't this on Dragon' den and laughed out of the place as a daft idea?
@ Peter Mitchell
Doesn't seem to matter does it?
If you say terrorist + police the loonies wont bother with the facts, just have a good old rant.
Any article tastes better with addrd "terror"
What a load of nonsense. I can't see anything on that form that mentions terrorism, that’s just an attempt to get a sexier headline for what is in essence a no-story.
And predictably the net furnishes a line of people who wring their hands at something that has been the way it is for ages, does not effect them at all and which they only take an interest in because someone tells them to.
Event A: A classical music concert held in a church hall
Event B: A Garage/RAP face off competition in a nightclub with a 24 hr license.
Do you think the potential for disorder/violence is likely to be different for one than the other? Do you think it might be prudent to have more police at one than the other? In short are the RISKS to the public greater for one or the other?
Or more specifically if 2 artists whose followers have a predisposition for violence towards each other are going to be at the same venue you don't think that SHOULD factor in to how an event is policed.
How do you think the police decide what resources to dedicate to an event without having some sort of information about its content, how many people are going, for how long, to do what, will there be alcohol, what is the likely demographic makeup of that group, what sort of crime is prevalent among that group, what problems have arose from similar sized and themed events in the past.
Or maybe its none of the police's business and everyone should be allowed to get on with it. And you'll respect the freedom of someone to drunkenly bottle you and walk away laughing because there’s not a copper within 5 miles and there’s none of that intrusive unwanted CCTV making you feel like a criminal.
The article clearly says, in spite of a bias so strong it qualifies as a riptide, the police are asking, you don't have to give the information but if you don't then why be surprised when they object. If you applied for an events license and didn't know how many people were going, or when it'd be over, or what security you would have at the venue would you expect anything else?
Its not the government blaming everything on the fight against terrorism, its the journalist. Very poor article indeed.
pass the parcel?
"A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service told the Register: "We have given our advice to the police on this and are not prepared to discuss what that advice is."
No I think you'll find its the CPS that decides whether or not to prosecute people. The clue is in the name.
whoever mislaid it SHOULD have taken more care and MAY have been criminally negligent. Isn't it amazing that even when the authorities do something right and refer the matter to the courts some people still see conspiracy.
Update the map with that, thats the only sighting in Norn Iron so far
Someone's already replied about criminal intent and mens rea so I won't go into that but
"How is monitoring and profiling internet usage any different, say, to opening and analysing all the post send to the people concerned? Or recording their phone calls? Or tracking their cars?"
You're exactly right, it isn't. However before someone mentions it I will point out that The European convention of Human Rights doesn't apply to private companys. Its there to protect us from our government but not from each other.
I cba to look but it may well be that the law governing interception of communications says something its illegal to do it "with intent to.... " something. Which they didn't
Basically that extract is a more complicated way of the police saying its a civil matter (breach of contract) so take it up with BT yourself.
isn't the decision about whether someone has committed a crime or not up to the courts rather than the police?
At the very least the crown prosecution service should be the ones to decide based on the public interest and likelihood of getting a conviction...
Guess its just too much work for the police when they can get more crime clearances reporting schoolboys for playground fights.
And what's your point?
"Surely the system just needs better Social Services links to the Police and Medical Systems to avoid another Victoria Climbié. "
Put aside the article's bias and isn't this exactly what this is?
No I got that just fine, but I'll reiterate that that law is not applicable and what the plod is probably trying to do is convince you to delete the picture without doing anything more. If the article was about a new law banning photographs of the police that'd be news, but its not, its a couple of isolated examples, one of which isn't even reported correctly and some very ropey statistics.
"Delete that picture of my police car parked on yellow lines outside the chippy, it is illegal under anti-terrorism legislation"
"No, it is evidence of an offence which I intend to report"
"I'll seize your camera then"
"Okay, I'd like a receipt with the reason and legislation its being seized under, your name number and station and the address of who I can write to to get it back"
If the pictures are evidence of your "offence" then they're in no danger of being deleted.
Can you explain your actions as being lawful? Yes.
Can the police officer inconvenience you while you do it? Yes.
But then, if you care THAT much about "catching them out" you shouldn't mind, should you?
If on the other hand you're doing it to be smart like W above why should you complain if you have no reasonable excuse and you have to explain yourself... in a police station?
@ NT thank you for your very sensible comments. I agree there are privacy problems at the moment. There are lots of where photographers' activities might arouse the interest of the police. For example if there was someone outside your childrens school playground snapping away wouldn't you want to know why?
"Any argument that this might be a little intrusive is met with the bland old reassurance that “if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear”.
The only people I ever hear say that is the tinfoil hat brigade. If anything police toting video cameras is as much protection for you as it is for them, it keeps them honest. If the camera is turned off and when its turned back on you have a black eye then people will ask why?
" what these stories have in common is an emerging double standard: “They” may photograph us when, where and how they like, but we should think twice about photographing them."
That's just nonsense. If you take a photo of a police officer/car breaking the law that is EVIDENCE of an offence. A police officer who attempts to conceal, alter, damage or destroy evidence is in very very deep water. They may well try and bully you but the fact is you are acting lawfully.
"Why are you taking photographs of a police vehicle sir"
"I am recording evidence of the driver committing an offence which I intend to report."
Is a photo of a police car of use to terrorists? Hardly.
Whats the point
of cathcing them breaking school rules when if you try to enforce them you end up in the high court because expulsion is discriminating and interfereing with their rights.
We're using technology instead of asking the question, why do youg people no longer respect the authority of the teachers, or anyone else?
Why reinvent the wheel
"Automatic Numberplate Recognition (ANPR), used in most current traffic-control systems - for instance the London Congestion Charge zone - is easily beaten by the use of false plates carrying someone else's number*."
So if its so terrible why is it used by everyone else with automated toll roads?
AFAIK the Irish system is a badge displayed in the window that you "top up" on a website or in shops like a phone card, read at the toll booth as you exit the toll road. So even if you cloned it you'd have to rely on the cloned person keeping paying and not noticing you using up their credits.
Does anyone have a reference for "routine" use of congestion zone data by the police? I wasn't aware that was the case.
At the very least you it would be reasonable for this report to say "X was accused of being naughty. A Police investigation was carried out and found no evidence of any offence"
And since we're all about the full disclosure, shouldn't it include the particulars of the person making the accusation?
Seems all you have to do to make policy is a headline in the tabloids, no matter how ridiculous it is.
"It is enshrined in the letter of law that UK does not have the presumption of innocence"
Anyone got a link to that?
how many plods are sitting in offices to gather and compile the data for this rather than being out on the beat?
Absolutely not, but you shouldn't need to fill in forms to follow someone who's known to be a burglar, at a time and in a location and in circumstances that look like they could be about to do it again.
Thats way different from stopping someone who "just doesn't fit in" for being in a middle class area in a hoodie, or with the wrong skin colour, and hassling them. That is wrong and rightly challenged.
Or if my car was stolen during the night I'd prefer if ANPR cameras could look for it right away not not wait until a form had been filled and sent to someone working office hours.
My exchange analogy still stands, and it has become the case with information held by ISPs, even will full access theres just so much data that no one has the resources to look through it unless its for a specific reason. That's not to say there shouldn't be accountability, of course there should. but would you be happy if you were the victim of a crime and the person responsible got away because the checks and balances prevented the police from acting in time? I'm just not sure the balance is right.
Criticising spelling, the last recourse of a pedant. My "vision" is just reading whats ACTUALLY being suggested and not reading the headline and crying "OMG its another nail in the coffin of civil liberty, we're doooooomed!"
And incidentally, if you can spot an "experienced" legal professional in the CPS you win a prize.
Isn't the suggestion that if YOUR house is burgled repeatedly the police should be able to watch YOUR house so if they come back again they can be caught? You'd object to that?
Police need to be, and as far as i can see _mostly_ are, accountable. But equally clear is that its not a case of plod doing their job AND filling in forms, its either or. Which is why they're not on the street being a deterrent, which for my money, is where they're meant to be. Instead we have people in police looking uniforms doing it for them. If you prefer them filling in forms to catching criminals then we've got the police you want right now so no need to complain. If you want to emigrate fair dos, is there another country where its any better?
Send in the clowns
Its clear from most of the comments so far that few of you have any idea what you're talking about.
"All it would take is a malicious or fictitious phone call from a nutter to say you were a dealer, terrorist or thief to give them an excuse."
No, it wouldn't. And if you were in the police for 20 yrs you'd know that so I'm calling bulls*%t on that one.
Yeah, permission from THE HOME SECRETARY. And how often do you think that happens? You know what, no one is that interested in what you get up to. Its like exchange admins, sure they can read all your emails, but who'd want to, they have better things to do.
They do indeed know who the crims are. But here's what happens:
Plod is out on the beat (okay, suspend your disbelief for that at least) and sees "fingers" murphy, well known and prolific burglar at 2 in the morning walking about outside YOUR house, which is in a nice area and miles and miles from where murphy lives. They could stop and speak to him of course and ask what he's doing but hey, its a free country guv, I can walk wheres I like, innit. Plod now fills in foot long stop and question form and provides carbonated copy to murphy which he keeps. After all, if he's stopped again he can complain about police harassment.
But murphy doesn't know he's been spotted. So Plod could follow at a discreet distance, or call for a plain clothes Plod - see if murphy either goes into any of the driveways or picks up a bag of tools from a car, tries some door handles maybe, looks in any windows. Heaven forbid, even tries to break into a house leading to his arrest and trip to court for the day.
Except Pold can't. because that counts as directed surveillance and requires RIPA authorisation, a huge form and approval by someone who is probably senior enough to be on call at home, in bed.
Basic Police work. Like hanging round in area where theres been a number of assaults, or dealing drugs, in plain clothes to try and CATCH people not wait for someone to report being beaten up again, or worse. All these things need forms upon forms sent to one person, than another, then another for approval.
You think plod on the street has microwave imaging and lasser guided microphones and phonetaps in their pockets? Grow up.
Police red tape in this country is a joke. Why don't some of you spend a day in magistrates court and see how the system treats offenders. murphy gets convicted of 1 more burglary and he might get 1 month in prison. Get convicted of 10 and he gets 10 months. Oh, only they are all concurrent, so thats still only 1 month. Bargain.
4) Police, I've been assaulted, you have to do something! No I don't know what they looked like. No I didn't see where they went. No, no one else was with me. Well... no, not hit me, he pushed me, but thats assault, no ones allowed to push me I know my rights! You better do something or I'm making a complaint.
Steve: Know what else is fun, calling the fire brigade when there's not even a fire! Man you should see them scratching their heads looking for ages when nothing is even burning. Serves them right for getting to sleep in work eh? lol.
Tools! of the trade
"most basic freedoms"
Oh don't talk nonsense. Police use force on people who are violent. Its a fact of life. And you know what, the police isn't made up of Jackie Chans. They may get it wrong but you can bet your arse there'll be questions to answer. The tinfoil hats may not believe it but the UK police is very closely scrutinised.
So if it were YOU and its a choice between getting in a wrestling match you might lose with someone twice your size who is quite keen to smash your face in and you're armed with a small stick and a taser, which would you pick?
Its a tool, it has its place. If used the right way its very effective and reduces the risk of anyone (including the person its used on) getting hurt.
"In some parts of North America, tasers are used at a rate roughly one-hundred times the historical rate of police gun fire. This varies widely, but the ratio is way more than ten."
Assuming you're not just making stats up, a big ask, Are the rates of death by taser 100 times the historical rate of police gun fire? It may look like a gun but it ISN'T a gun any more than CS or Pava spray is.
"Call me old fashioned, but I want due process and a police force that knows that its job doesn't extend to judiciary proceedings. Although that's already gone with fixed penalties."
So you say you don't want fixed penalties because you want due process by going to court. But you don't want to go to court for minor offenses because it'll cost more than it would to pay the fixed penalty? Riiiiight. Think you might want to think that through a bit more.
How about if you were offered the options of:
Report to the courts
A fixed penalty
A 5 second taser and we'll say no more
I wonder how many people would opt for the quick pain rather than a fine? :D
Just to bin the idea of "DNA identity theft":
If for whatever reason your DNA sample and someone elses are mixed up on the database and the you are connected to a person object or scene by their DNA it can not be used as evidence at court.
The process works like this
Your sample is placed on the database
DNA is found on an object.
This is then compared to existing samples on the database
IF a match is found then the person it relates to needs to be spoken to
There may be a perfectly reasonable explaination why your DNA would be there.
If sufficient grounds exist, and excluding you as a suspect would be one, another sample of DNA is taken from you to compare with that taken at the scene
So its matched object to physical person, not object to database. So you could never be convicted based on a database entry alone as it without doubt contains errors. For one thing there's bound to be multiple identical samples under different names if criminals have given false details.
The point about driving licenses is well made. Consider: An ID card with your photo , your name and date of birth and nothing else contains as much _private_ information as a DNA sample STR+ as described above. Neither tell anyone anything about your disposition, political views, tendency to violence.
Yet an ID card system is ubiquitous in many liberal civilised countries without them falling under the jackboot of fascist oppression (I'm just back from Spain and I though I was mostly tipsy on cheap wine I noticed no oppression)
Those who think our Police are Orwellian Storm troopers should get out more. A society where the police have to cravenly apologise for not realising beforehand that a picture of a puppy training to be a police dog would cause offence to Glasgow shop-owners has indeed gone very wrong but not in the direction you'd suggest. True story.
Alien because some of the comments show an only passing knowledge of the real world. That's what happens when you believe everything you read on t'internet I guess.
Interestingly light on details isn't it
You know for someone so concerned with freedom of information, the originator of this story, and all its salacious headlines and controversial "revelations" is very scant on actual FACTS
So lets see:
"Up to May of this year, the Home Office approved 25 applications for research projects using DNA profiles from the DNA database.
•5 are from private companies"
We can assume the other 20 were by the company that runs the database who have all the info anyway. That's 5 approved since the database was started... in 1995... 13 YEARS. Yes indeed, your private information is just FLYING out the door. Except, it isn't as they didn't provide identifiaction, only profile information. But lets not let pesky facts get in the way of a good spot of Labour bashing
"The police, many of whose officers have added themselves to the DNA database voluntarily, rejected a request for their DNA samples to be used in a research project."
A request. Ah, ok. Out of how many? On what grounds? How many were approved? If they rejected ONE request but accepted 5, 10? I can see how that'd make your "revelations" a bit less saucy. But a bit more accurate. I'm just speculating of course as the MP who submitted the freedom of information request didn't see fit to publish the request, or the answers. Ironic, no?
If anyone is interested your DNA is taken if you are arrested for a _recordable_ offence. That means your parking tickets, litter dropping, speeding, anti social behaviour etc does not mean you get a sample taken. Thats just ill informed daily mail ranting.
Nor does DNA evidence mean you are banged up and convicted on the spot. In fact recent changes in the law mean the police only have a power to arrest you if they think you commited an offence AND it is necessary for a specific reason. You need to be questioned for a minor offence and can come in when you finish work for example would NOT be an occasion where you could be arrested. But I digress - All DNA evidence ever does is connect you to a person object or location. Which is the basis of all modern forensics anyway.
And it is not a smoking gun by any means, it just creates a connection that must be supported by other evidence. DNA evidence itself is not de facto proof anyway, anymore than fingerprints ever were, and shrewd lawyers and juries are wising up to this fact.
No one has ever been convicted in a UK court on DNA evidence _alone_ as far as I know, though I wait to be proved wrong.
I'm all for a debate on how DNA is collected and used but its hard to know if the information the government has is being used responsibly and proportionately when all we get to inform opinion is so clearly biased one way or the other.
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