UK Police Arresting People Just To Add To DNA Database?

from the civil-rights? dept

We were just talking about how pretty much any government database will get abused by government employees eventually. But it's not just on the accessing or revealing of data that this can happen. How about the collection of data as well? Jabberwocky alerts us to the news that police in the UK have supposedly been arresting innocent people just to add them to the UK's DNA database. The report looking into this, sarcastically titled "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear?" finds that nearly one in five of the DNA records in the database are from innocent people. And part of that is an "arrest first, ask questions later" policy towards collecting DNA:
The commission had received evidence from a former police superintendent that it was now the norm to arrest offenders for everything possible. "It is apparently understood by serving police officers that one of the reasons, if not the reason, for the change in practice is so that the DNA of the offender can be obtained," said Montgomery, adding that it would be a matter of very great concern if this was now a widespread practice.
Oh yeah, to make matters worse: "there is very little concrete evidence on the importance of the DNA match in leading to a conviction and whether the suspect would have been identified by other means anyway." Don't you feel safer now?

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2009 @ 7:18pm

    I would feel (slightly) better about this if all police officers and government officials were required to submit their own DNA upon being hired. After all, if they've got nothing to hide....

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