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UK Police Promise Not To Retain DNA Data, But Do Anyway 372

Posted by kdawson
from the most-private-thing dept.
redalien writes "In 2008 I invited two policemen into my home and voluntarily gave them a DNA and fingerprint sample to help with a murder investigation, as they'd promised it would only be used for that investigation. I was never under any suspicion and could just as easily have said no. Almost a year after the investigation closed they have now confirmed that they've retained my samples and at my request have begun an investigation to see if there are sufficient 'exceptional circumstances' to remove them. I'm not the only one who was told samples would be removed, so if you've had such a promise from the police I recommend contacting their data protection registrar immediately."
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UK Police Promise Not To Retain DNA Data, But Do Anyway

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  • Not the first (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GigaplexNZ (1233886) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @03:27AM (#31327216)
    This isn't the first time the police have lied.
    • Animal House (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @04:29AM (#31327474)

      A line from National Lampoon's Animal House came to my mind first thing:

      "You can't spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You fucked up... you trusted us!"

      I mean really - how could this guy possibly have expected them do drop something as useful* as a DNA fingerprint?

      * useful in this context means "everyone is a suspect which makes my job easier as a cop"

      • I think what the parent is actually saying, in slightly more diplomatic terms is "if everyone has their DNA on file, then I don't have to get off my fat donut eating arse cheeks and do any actual detective work, I can just click a few buttons and send someone directly to jail - or two people with identical DNA, who really cares"

    • Re:Not the first (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ls671 (1122017) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @04:56AM (#31327582) Homepage

      He could have spotted the lie just as soon as they promised him the samples would be removed. Almost everybody on /. knows that it is almost impossible to delete data from fail-over sites, backups, archived data, etc. in a way that one can guarantee that all traces of the data has really been destroyed everywhere...

      • Re:Not the first (Score:5, Informative)

        by DangerFace (1315417) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @05:47AM (#31327780) Journal

        On the bright side there is an increasing consensus that DNA evidence is a lot less useful than CSI: would have us believe.

        It makes sense, really - it takes quite a while and a fairly large sample to sequence someone's genome with proper error checking, so the crime labs generally don't bother. Instead, they focus on a few areas of chromosomes called loci, and pick sections of non-coding DNA called short tandem repeats. US labs will normally look at 13 loci, UK labs 10. Many experts have testified in a court of law, under oath, that a match of nine loci is 'tantamount to unique identification'.

        Studies have been done on small sections of some DNA databases, comparing every profile with every other profile, and found this to simply be false. In Arizona 65 493 profiles were made available - 122 pairs matched at nine loci, 20 at ten, 1 at eleven and 1 more at twelve. In Illinois 220 000 were checked, and 903 pairs matched at nine or more loci, and in Maryland 30 000 were checked, providing 32 matching pairs.

        Add to this the problem that eyelashes, skin fragments etc can be carried on the wind, or from a random frottage, and we have some important cases being 'solved' with what amounts to deeply circumstantial evidence. With any luck this fascination with DNA being used as the be all and end all, the assayer of truth, will end as soon as possible.

        PS: most of that informative stuff about loci and short tandem repeats was pretty much lifted from New Scientist #2742, dated 9 January 2010. IANAGeneticist, and would feel a small pang of guilt without adding this disclaimer.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jimicus (737525)

          On the not so bright side, this won't stop the police from turning your life upside down if you happen to be unlucky enough to match someone else in their database - and I speculate that much of what you describe is not terribly well known to the lay person, which would mean that without a hell of a good alibi it could still be enough to get you convicted.

        • Re:Not the first (Score:4, Insightful)

          by digitig (1056110) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:15AM (#31327882)

          On the bright side there is an increasing consensus that DNA evidence is a lot less useful than CSI: would have us believe.

          No, that isn't the bright side, and you misunderstand the meaning of "useful" as far as DNA databasing is concerned. As long as the jury believes all that CSI stuff, DNA evidence is just as useful as everyone thinks for getting a conviction, getting the case closed, and making the police's detection statistics look good. The DNA evidence might not be so useful for getting the right person convicted, but that doesn't appear in anybody's performance indicators so that doesn't matter to anybody. Except to the poor sucker put away for a crime they didn't commit, but they're a convict now and nobody cares what they think.

        • Re:Not the first (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @08:55AM (#31328594)
          No prosecutor worth their aspiration for higher political office will ever acknowledge any of this. They (and law enforcement in general) need a body count, and a body count they shall have.
        • Re:Not the first (Score:4, Insightful)

          by optimus2861 (760680) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @10:10AM (#31329268)

          Studies have been done on small sections of some DNA databases, comparing every profile with every other profile, and found this to simply be false. In Arizona 65 493 profiles were made available - 122 pairs matched at nine loci, 20 at ten, 1 at eleven and 1 more at twelve. In Illinois 220 000 were checked, and 903 pairs matched at nine or more loci, and in Maryland 30 000 were checked, providing 32 matching pairs.

          Add to this the problem that eyelashes, skin fragments etc can be carried on the wind, or from a random frottage, and we have some important cases being 'solved' with what amounts to deeply circumstantial evidence. With any luck this fascination with DNA being used as the be all and end all, the assayer of truth, will end as soon as possible.

          You say all this as if the police walk into a crime scene having absolutely no clue who the perpetrator could possibly be, taking some DNA samples, running it through the computer, then arresting the resultant match and passing it on to the courts. In reality the list of suspects is going to be considerably narrowed by old-fashioned police work: finding witnesses, finding out the victim's history, looking for motive, etc.

          In other words, fat lot of good it's going to do you to claim, "But there's a 0.1% chance that DNA isn't mine!" when you've been spotted leaving the crime scene by a witness, were seen having an argument with the victim a couple days prior, he owed you money, etc. Not to mention that if you go to find those other, say, 30 DNA matches, you find out that 21 of them live hundreds of miles away, 3 of them are in nursing homes, 1 is a kid, 2 are already in prison and have been for years...

    • Re:Not the first (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cassini2 (956052) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @05:22AM (#31327694)

      Police are allowed to participate in a ruse to gain the trust of a suspect.

      Make no mistake. You were a suspect in a murder case, until cleared. In a police investigation, everyone is a potential suspect. As such, be careful what you volunteer, because until proven otherwise, you are a suspect and can be lied to.

      • Make no mistake. You were a suspect in a murder case, until cleared.

        I was? Who did I allegedly kill?

    • Re:Not the first (Score:4, Insightful)

      by evilbessie (873633) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:19AM (#31327916)
      In other news the pope continues to shit in the woods and bears are catholic.
  • by nedlohs (1335013) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @03:28AM (#31327220)

    Seriously?

    • by internewt (640704) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @03:52AM (#31327318) Journal

      Seriously?

      That was exactly the kind of thing I thought!

      Unfortunately the police, with the help of politicians, have thrown away any respect I may have once had for them. If the police came to my house, doing door to door enquiries, then I would not talk to them at all, and I most definitely would not invite them into my home.

      The police have become servants of themselves, through the target systems that exist to gauge their performance. They do not respect the communities they police any more, and I think most police would actually laugh at you if you told them they are pubic servants.

      ACAB.

      At this point, if you are nasty fucking pig or a pig apologist, you set the box below to troll, overrated, offtopic, flamebait, or redundant.

      • and I think most police would actually laugh at you if you told them they are pubic servants.

        I think everyone would laugh at you if you told them that ;)

        • by internewt (640704)

          Sorry, it's just the state hookers who are the pubic servants![1]

          Whilst joking, here's a good 'un:

          Why do the police always go round in groups of 3?

          One to read anything that could be useful, one to write down anything that could be useful, and one to keep an eye on the two dangerous subversives!

          [1] Idea for software, probably patentable, but I am going to release it here into the public domain: spell checkers should flag words that are spelt correctly, but that could still be a typo of another valid word. Ma

    • by wizardforce (1005805) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @03:56AM (#31327340) Journal

      Just replace "don't talk to the police" [youtube.com] with "don't provide DNA/etc voluntarily to the police." You don't gain anything by talking to the police nor providing genetic evidence without a proper warrant. Different reasons same good advice.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @04:56AM (#31327584)

        Something bugs me whenever someone brings up "don't talk to the police" as a general rule. (Before I go on, let me say that I'm a libertarian and, while I find that the majority of police officers are good and honorable people, no police force is worthy of blind trust and it is every citizen's duty to keep governmental power to a pragmatic minimum.) The OP said that he volunteered the DNA during a murder investigation. Perhaps the victim was someone close to him, and he had an interest in helping the investigation along as much as possible, perhaps even by volunteering evidence so as to eliminate himself as a suspect so the police could move on sooner. How does one balance an altruistic need to volunteer information to the police against the general "don't talk to the police" principle of avoiding self-incrimination?

        • It doesn't really matter whether the majority of police officers are "good and honorable people" (which is probably doubtful anyway since it's a profession that attracts bullies disproportionately). What does matter is that it's their job to get you. That's right, they're out to get you. Any law professor will tell you that they are allowed to lie to you at any time, and do a couple of other things to you, just to catch you for something, preferably for the crime they're investigating. They have no incentive whatsoever to make sure they get the right guy, their only job is to get someone convicted.

          Take for example this case. A guy was found stabbed in a cupboard. They had no clue who might have done it. Finally, it was decided that he actually stabbed himself and then put himself in a cupboard. You have to wonder, why did the police go around collecting DNA samples in the first place if there was no foreign DNA on the crime scene to begin with. Clearly, either DNA was collected from random people in the hope of getting them convicted for any other crime, or the final conclusion that the guy stabbed himself is another lie to make their crime solving statistics look good after months of fruitless investigation.

          By the way, while the individual likelihood of being misidentified through your DNA markers as a match for one given piece of evidence is very small, your chance "matching" some completely random piece of evidence among the millions they got lying around is actually getting higher with increasing database size. So if your DNA is on file, and is routinely compared to every new piece of evidence that comes in, an individual's chance of being framed by the birthday paradox is higher than one might think.

        • Do yourself a favor and watch the video the parent linked to.
    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @04:16AM (#31327422) Journal

      He may have been naive when he did that, but if UK police force is not up to his expectations with that regard, the blame is still with the police, and that's where things should be fixed.

      If you don't trust policemen in your country, same logic applies. Why do you give guns (and the discretion to use lethal force) to people who aren't trusted with much more mundane things?

      • Who says police in my country are given guns and/or the discretion to use lethal force?
        • They still have a lot more power over you than a typical citizens, guns or not.

          By the way, the fact that NZ policement don't carry guns normally doesn't mean that they cannot, in general. Then, of course, there are the "non-lethal" Tasers, and the good old fashioned batons.

          Also, is it really much better if they can only use crippling (and only accidentally lethal) force against you?

  • Hairdressers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @03:30AM (#31327230) Homepage

    I would think you would have more to fear from your barber and a possible black market in DNA traces, for investigative misdirection. Who else might become suspect, doctors, are hospitals removing all samples or are they being put on file as well. Even public transport might be considered an unsafe DNA dispersal risk location.

    • Re:Hairdressers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pinky's Brain (1158667) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @03:44AM (#31327282)

      If you're not in the database then you won't need to fear a planted sample either. Not being in the database reduces your risk both from false positive and from planted sample ... being in the database is a pure lose/lose situation.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by grim-one (1312413)
      I don't know about you but I don't give my name and number to my barber. I also pay in cash only.
      • Around here, some hairdressers are so busy that you need an appointment. So you need to at least give first name.

        And possibly also a number, just in case they need to call you back if they have to move your appointment for whatever reason.

    • Re:Hairdressers (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lemming Mark (849014) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @04:55AM (#31327574) Homepage

      Well, presumably the police having your DNA *on file* increases the likelihood that you'll be hauled in by them for other things, should there be a spurious match (say). And regardless, if they're keeping personal information they promised not to keep then that's a serious moral issue regardless of the practical consequences - can people trust the police at their word? Should they?

  • by kandela (835710) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @03:31AM (#31327234)
    Data should not be retained if the condition of obtaining it was that it would not be retained. Anything else is immoral, and should be illegal.
  • Freedom is a lie (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @03:32AM (#31327236)

    Its funny. Im a Brit living abroad in a former soviet Country for the last two years, and the more I see the more I realise how big our illusion of freedom is in the UK.

    We have more Security Cameras than anyone. Our government wants to record every website, email and text number used. We are profiled beyond compare.. Even our internet private is monitored..
    1984 :)

    You have more chance of being free elsewhere.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @03:32AM (#31327238) Journal

    Watch and learn [youtube.com].

    -jcr

    • by Manip (656104)

      This doesn't apply in the UK. If you don't tell the police a mitigating piece of evidence you cannot use it in court later.

      • by Skreems (598317) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @03:45AM (#31327288) Homepage
        Tell it to them WHEN? If you can't wait long enough to have a lawyer present without giving up your right to mount a full legal defense, then the UK system is even more broken than the US one.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by VShael (62735)

          Our American readers need to know that the UK does not have the same Miranda rights as in the US, when you are being arrested.

          Specifically, a number of years ago the warnings were changed. Note the difference carefully, and see if you can see how clamming up until a lawyer gets there, might be directly harmful to your freedom.

          "You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evi

          • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:17AM (#31327896)

            However (and I speak as a recent ex-policeman from the UK), the key is "MAY harm your defence". If you can give good reason in court as to why you didn't disclose it ("I needed to speak to my solicitor first", "I didn't want my wife to find out about my affair", "I was being threatened by the bad guy") the court will take this into account and allow the evidence (or at least give due consideration to your reasoning). I will not automatically exclude the evidence (note the full stop and the word may). Of course this won't apply where you don't have a good reason (i.e. it was to cover your tracks) or if someone is harmed or a further crime committted (you don't give the info giving your acomplice time to kill the hostage and bury the body).

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jcr (53032)

        This doesn't apply in the UK.

        Yes, it does. Even in the UK, you have the right to remain silent.

        -jcr

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Yes, it does. Even in the UK, you have the right to remain silent.
          But unlike in the US it is not a defense and is normally interpreted by officers as an admittance of guilt. Not mentioning something is just as dangerous as mentioning something in court, unless you've got an alibi if you don't mention something at the moment it'll be disregarded later, basically if you don't say you were somewhere they'll decide where you were and unless you've got an alibi in court your where THEY decide.

          In my dealings

          • by jcr (53032)

            But unlike in the US it is not a defense and is normally interpreted by officers as an admittance of guilt.

            In any country, the cops are going to arrest you if they feel like it, and they'll invent any pretext they care to. Your right to remain silent isn't a way to protect yourself from the arrest, it's a way to protect yourself from a conviction in court. You can not help yourself by volunteering information to the police.

            -jcr

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gedhrel (241953)

        That is not the case. The wording of the caution is that if you do not mention anything when questioned that you later use in your defence, that may prejudice your defence.

        That is to say: a prosecuting barrister is, these days, within their rights to sneer and imply to the jury that what you've said in that regard was clearly made up after the fact.

    • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:16AM (#31327892)
      UK citizens: Ignore the advice in this video. It is accurate for the US legal system, not the UK legal system.

      I've watched the whole thing before, and there are so many items in the video that simply do not apply that the whole thing should be ignored. Hell, the very first frame you see is regarding the Fifth Amendment: We don't have a constitution.

      Do you want advice on how to deal with the police in the UK? Go to Citizen's Advice. The internet has some basics, but they're not comprehensive.
      Do you want instructions on how to handle arrest? That's easy: Comply. Do nothing to resist. Listen to everything that is said. As soon as you're arrested, say nothing about the reason for your arrest. Not "I didn't do it!" not "It was that guy!" There will be time for this later, after you've spoken to a solicitor.

      Confirm personal details at the station, nothing more, and when asked state politely but firmly that you can not answer any questions regarding your arrest or enter an interview room until you have spoken to a professional legal representative. It's because you've not done this before, and want everything to be done right. Law is complex. Late at night (if required) this might be a phone call, but you can still request a solicitor to attend in person. Usually this will be the next day, which is good. Try and get some sleep; You can't go anywhere or do anything, and talking to anyone is a bad idea.

      IANAL, IANYL, this is not legal advice etc.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
        Re: My above comment

        Section 34 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 2004 means not giving any evidence which could exonerate you when questioned under caution by a constable (at the scene, prior to formal interview at the station) could affect your ability to move for case dismissal based on that same exonerating evidence you did not mention at the time, and also exonerating evidence can be disregarded if a judge or jury decides that there is a case to answer based upon other evidence heard. Thanks
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jcr (53032)

        You said: Ignore the advice in this video. It is accurate for the US legal system, not the UK legal system.

        and then you said: when asked state politely but firmly that you can not answer any questions regarding your arrest or enter an interview room until you have spoken to a professional legal representative.

        Which is exactly the same advice given in the video I linked to. The key point is that you can not benefit from volunteering information to the police.

        -jcr

        • In the US, your rights are "Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."
          In the UK, it's "It may harm your defense if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."

          Interview can work for the defense as well in the UK, but the regulations are different. You must volunteer (under caution) evidence which will exonerate you before trial, or it may become inadmissible as basis for dismissal.

          As I said, the vid
  • by harvey the nerd (582806) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @04:03AM (#31327372)
    The local district attorney on the Duke rape sat on clear, exonerating DNA evidence that the psycho stripper erred or lied. They had 6 or 7 DNA samples from her (and underwear) that failed to match any DNA of the falsely charged Duke kids. Ooops, wrong team!

    So why bother with the free DNA?

    Of course, the police and DA everywhere else will cluck their tongues and say this never could happen at their place. Today, only a fool considers government and corporate reps as anything but potentially dangerous adversaries, and their promises as anything more valuable than glib promises printed on second hand toilet paper.
  • by cerberusss (660701) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @04:17AM (#31327424) Homepage Journal

    Seriously, do not ever again help the police. Sure, follow their instructions when within the law. But helping the police does not help YOU at all and might seriously endanger yourself. If the samples were contaminated or mixed up, you could have found yourself in jail.

    Watch the presentations by Professor James Duane of Stanford University:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=NL&v=i8z7NC5sgik [youtube.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Police come to your door due to a missing little girl they are looking for. They want to ask you if you have seen her. Do you deny any answer to the police or simply answer their question with a "no"?
      • by QuoteMstr (55051)

        The tragic part is that the policy have expanded their powers so much that not answering any questions is the safer course.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cerberusss (660701)

        That is a laughably simplistic question.

        It would be much more like:
        LEO: "Have you seen this little girl?"
        You: "No".
        LEO: "Where were you around this and that time?"
        You: "Alone, here in the house."
        LEO: "Can anybody confirm that?"
        You: ...

        Do you see what I mean? What looks like a simple question, could actually turn into an unpleasant conversation of which your lawyer would tell you to stop explaining yourself.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by choco (36913)

        It's a good question. There are several ways of looking at it. For example:

        The "missing little Girl" is your daughter. The Police are knocking on your neighbour's doors. You now have to face the fact that some of your neighbours might be finding it hard to offer the Police complete support - at least partly because the Police have previously acted in ways which reduced the public's confidence in the Police.

        How do you feel ? Who do you blame ?

        I would much prefer to live in a society where "Policing by Consen

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cerberusss (660701)

          It's a good question. There are several ways of looking at it/p>

          There's still another way of looking at it. You don't have to talk to the police to be helpful. You could instead just help your neighbors directly.

  • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @04:23AM (#31327446)
    The police in an investigation can and will only ever help the prosecution. They are not going to help the defense of anyone. The only person who will do that is you and your lawyer. Even if you have proof that you were not the person, if the local DA or Magistrate or whatever it is in your country decides to have charges brought against you, whatever you said, did, provided, etc., will be used against you. Even if you are simply saying something like that you were not in the area at that time, you don't know if the police already have a witness that said they saw you, and as such, unless you have real "proof", you are simply "lying", and thus they will think even more so that you are the guilty party. I know people think that they should "help" the police in many of these cases, but the best thing you can do is say, "I am sorry, but I will not talk to you without a lawyer", and leave it at that. All you can do is get yourself in trouble.
  • by fred911 (83970) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @04:23AM (#31327448)

    If you talk to the police without consul, during an investigation you have waived your rights and demonstrated to the police that you are an idiot, not honest or friendly. They are not your friends. The do not have to tell you the truth. When asked to waive my rights by an officer of the law I respectfully tell them that I am unable to waive them without the advice of an attorney. That pisses them off and they usually start threatening warrants and other harassment.

      "With respect for your position sir, I respectfully decline any more communication without an attorney present, and understand you have a job to do, please proceed with what you have to do. Am I under arrest or are you detaining me? If so please provide consul. If not have a nice day!"

    • by Kjella (173770)

      If you talk to the police without consul, (...) If so please provide consul. If not have a nice day!

      It may be because of your insistance to have a Consul [wikipedia.org] present rather than Counsel [wikipedia.org]. Then again, if you don't know the difference not talking without one is most wise.

    • by jamesh (87723) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @05:10AM (#31327638)

      If you talk to the police without consul, during an investigation you have waived your rights and demonstrated to the police that you are an idiot, not honest or friendly.

      Bullshit. You just make it harder for them to do their job. Sure there are cops who are crooks, or just jerks, but if you presume that they all are then you are no better than your make-believe stereotypical policeman. Have a think about which dark corner of society would benefit if everyone starts being hostile towards the police.

      We had a policeman knock on our door a while back. There was a grassfire a few km down the road and a car vaguely fitting the description of our car parked in our driveway was seen leaving the scene. By the time he knocked on our door I assumed he had already put his hand on the bonnet etc to see if had been driven recently, and he even told us that our car didn't really match the description after all. We chatted for a while and he left. If i'd had behaved like a prick like you suggest what would it have gained me?

      I can only begin to guess at what a horrible job it must be most of the time. You'd see the worst of people every day. You'd have to knock on doors at 3am and tell parents that they have one less living child. Every time you pull someone over you know that there is a slim chance that someone's going to pull a shotgun on you. And if you make it hard for them to do their job then the only people left doing the job are the ones who don't take your sort of shit lightly.

      Hopefully if you ever need the assistance of the police, you won't run into one that you've pissed off along the way.

      • by 0123456 (636235) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @05:22AM (#31327690)

        Bullshit. You just make it harder for them to do their job.

        The only time the police have an easy job is in a police state.

        If you're not a criminal, victim or witness then you have no reason to talk to the police about a crime, and if you are a criminal then you have no reason to talk to the police without a lawyer. So there are very, very few cases where talking to the police is actually beneficial, and many where it's going to get you in a world of hurt... even police themselves will admit that.

        Remember, these are the people who recently shot an innocent guy in the head eight times for 'suspicion of looking a bit muslim' and walked away with no consequences. Britain is rapidly approaching a police state if it isn't already there, which is precisely why I left a couple of years ago.

      • You've got a couple of weird points and I'd like to reply since you normally have very good posts.

        I can only begin to guess at what a horrible job it must be most of the time.

        Well, they like their job. What a strange thing to assume they hate their job, and you feel like offering them some relief of their horrible job.

        And if you make it hard for them to do their job then the only people left doing the job are the ones who don't take your sort of shit lightly.

        Are you sure you're making it harder? He already touched the hood. He still wants to talk to you for some reason you don't know. What is your reason for talking to the officer?

        • He already touched the hood. He still wants to talk to you for some reason you don't know.

          EXACTLY my thoughts. Either the cop was fishing or he was time-wasting. That story really does nothing to bolster his argument. It's like saying, "I walked by a snake once and it didn't bite me, so clearly there is no need to worry about snake bites."

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by squizzar (1031726)

        I think that some judgement is necessary. The UK police are driven entirely by targets (rather than the interest of the community) which means that they are desperate for arrests. If you are arrested for something then being a reasonable person, 'helping them out', 'making it easier for yourself' etc. (e.g. answering questions or making statements in the absence of legal counsel) is a way of them shoring up their case against you without some pesky lawyer stopping you from incriminating yourself.

        Contrast

      • by fred911 (83970)

        Have a think about which dark corner of society would benefit if everyone starts being hostile towards the police.

          I didn't say to be hostile. Be extra, extra polite but don't waive your rights. Don't answer questions, don't authorize searches, don't listen to their threats, ask if you are under arrest or are being detained.

          Respond with "Good day Officer" or "Officer unfortunately I am unable to assist you further without my counsel, thank you for understanding."

      • by xous (1009057)
        Once burned twice shy. Operating on the assumption that cops are out to screw you might let a few criminals run free to be caught buy I feel my freedom is worth such a risk. Should we do away with warrants, trials, and human rights simply because it's the most expedient method of insuring "criminals" are behind bars? I think not.

        "Hopefully if you ever need the assistance of the police, you won't run into one that you've pissed off along the way."

        You make it sound like they are doing this out of some sor

      • You weren't under caution. Everything changes after you're read your rights.
  • by blackest_k (761565) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @04:32AM (#31327482) Homepage Journal

    Unfortunately the Police are under no obligation to remove the DNA from the database until your 100th birthday I've read through the regulations they work under. In the appendix there are form letters for the chief constable to tell you that your dna can not be removed, there is no example of a letter saying it can.

    In the UK the police retain records of everyone even if you have never been arrested or charged with anything it is enough to be associated with someone with a criminal record for this to be recorded on your record. I believe they refer to these as non arrestable offenses. I say your record but its the polices record of you. Over time the Police are not forced to share what they have on you with other agencies but everything is kept on record for their use and they do have the option of clearing your record once you reach the age of 100.

    Of course your Dna will not only identify you but close matches may suggest a brother or a son or other close relative may be worth investigating. There is no political will from either of the main parties to curb the current legislation they have both contributed to it. So you either live with it or leave and hope that there is no worldwide database created in your lifetime.

    Rule number one where ever you are don't get involved with the Police if you can possibly avoid it.

    http://www.genewatch.org/sub-539482 [genewatch.org]
    http://www.runnymedetrust.org/events-conferences/econferences/ethnic-profiling-in-uk-law-enforcement/the-report/the-national-dna-database/the-national-dna-database-2.html [runnymedetrust.org]

    The second link spells it out for you using big letters and crayon, yes you are on record and for all practical meanings of for the rest of your life.

    The European Court of Human Rights

    In December 2008, in the case of S. and Marper v. the UK, the Grand Chamber of European Court of Human Rights reached a unanimous judgment that the blanket retention of innocent people's DNA and fingerprints by the UK Government contravenes Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to privacy).

    At the time of writing, the Government has yet to implement a response to the judgment. Its initial proposals to retain DNA records from innocent people for 6 or 12 years, depending on the offence for which they were arrested, were widely criticised. They have been replaced with an alternative 6 year retention time for innocent adults (3 years for under-16s), in the Crime and Security Bill 2009/10. However, both opposition parties regard these proposals as unacceptable.. The Government has also made a welcome proposal to destroy the original DNA samples (biological samples), which are currently stored by the commercial laboratories which analyse them, and which contain unlimited genetic information which is not needed for identification purposes.

    I guess that this judgment may change things but currently there is no change and it will remain that way until compelled to change. note the opposition fighting against the change it can be viewed as because the proposals are still draconian or more cynically to block any change in the current status quo.

    Unless legislation does go through and so far it hasn't then any plea to the chief constable to get the dna record removed due to exceptional circumstances will fall on deaf ears because after all being innocent of any crime is hardly exceptional in that database.

    • Coming up very soon is the third time Europe will ask the UK government what they have done to remedy this situation. The first two times they have been found wanting. This third time will result in very heavy fines and possibly criminal trial for people in positions of responsibility, in the European Court of Justice.
  • the police, the government, the powers that be in the UK have proven themselves time and time again to be completely untrustworthy.

    Equally unfortunate is the British propensity to grit their teeth and bear it, (because they love to complain about something) rather than do something constructive to change their situation while they still can.

  • by missileman (1101691) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @05:26AM (#31327716)

    How the hell could it "help with a murder investigation" to provide them with a sample of your DNA?

    Presuming you are innocent, you are simply opening yourself up to a false positive match, either now or in sometime in the future.

    You have everything to lose, and nothing whatsoever to gain.

    In the case of a degraded DNA sample, it's possible to have the statical odds of you being a match for a sample in the range of 100,000 to 1. That doesn't seem so bad unless you consider that there might be 1,000,000 records on file. Statistically that's 10 database hits, and if you are the lucky one cold hit, combined with the apparent belief that juries find scientific evidence infallible, you could easily be convicted. It *has* happened before that the only evidence that links a suspect to a crime is a cold database hit.

    Just don't give them a sample without a court order, ever.

     

    • by Stray7Xi (698337) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @07:03AM (#31328118)

      How the hell could it "help with a murder investigation" to provide them with a sample of your DNA?

      If it happened in your home and your DNA is contaminating the crime scene. They have multiple samples of DNA and would like to eliminate some. I wouldn't want to trust the police with my DNA either, but if my wife was murdered in our bed (while I had an airtight alibi), it'd be a hard problem but I'd want a lawyer first.

  • British police (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dugeen (1224138) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @05:42AM (#31327762) Journal
    One good thing about the New Labour gleichshaltung is that British people have largely lost the trust in the police that they used to have. The way the police have behaved over DNA, and over the Stockwell killing, and the way they've treated anti-war demonstrators, have all had their effect. As Joe Orton pointed out, it's a far healthier society when people have a proper wariness of the police.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Faluzeer (583626)

      Hmmm

      I don't believe the blame can be (entirely) placed on the Labour Government, I did not trust the police before Labour came to power. There are numerous examples of the police abusing their powers under previous governments.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        This [wikipedia.org] is what killed my trust in the English police: an old-Etonian Earl and ITN (Britain's independent TV news agency) condemning the disproportionate actions of the police against women and children.

        I don't trust New Labour to prevent atrocities like this, but this particular one took place under the Conservatives. And it wasn't [wikipedia.org] an isolated incident.

        Back on topic, I believe "UK police" here really means "English and Welsh police": I *believe* one of the few things the Scottish "polis" get right is that th

  • Pity - Monty Python would have had a field day with this.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @05:57AM (#31327824)

    In 2008 I invited two policemen into my home and voluntarily gave them a DNA and fingerprint sample to help with a murder investigation, as they'd promised it would only be used for that investigation. I was never under any suspicion...

    Of course you were under suspicion - they just didn't have enough evidence to get a warrant to force you to give up your DNA so they bamboozled you into doing it voluntarily. Of course they kept it on file, they were suspicous enough of you to request a DNA sample thus you are under permanent suspicion for the rest of your life and probably a ways beyond.

    What you did was the equivalent of getting pulled over by a cop and when he looks in your car window and doesn't see anything to justify a search , instead of letting you go on your way, he asks you if he can go ahead and search your car anyway and you said yes.

  • by Aceticon (140883) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:00AM (#31327838)

    C'mon, this is the UK police we're talking about: nowadays they're driven by targets that come from the politicians and directly influence their bonuses and career prospects.

    Targets have been set by the highest level of government to collect and keep as many DNA samples as possible for the DNA Database, so Bonuses and Promotions are at stake here. They don't give a damn about the citizens they are supposed to serve except as means to reach their targets, so they would tell you whatever you wanted to hear to get another point on their DNA samples target.

    Count yourself lucky though: people's lifes have been ruined when they got "Cautions" (an admission of guilt, which requires no court involvement and goes into the Criminal Record) for being drunken and rowdy or for (lightly) discipling their own kids.

    I've lived in 3 European countries by now and this is the only one where I don't trust the police (which is kinda sad since I'm from Portugal, a country where people look up to the UK as a better place)

    Not that I blame the lowly copper: at the core of the current rot are the power hungry politicians and money driven high-level officers.

    I guess that people are getting what they deserve around here: the British electorate keeps voting on the same two sets of visibly lying, deceitfull, sleazy and two-faced politicians (or not voting at all) - these guys are so exceptionally untrustworthy (at least compared with Dutch and Portuguese politicians) that they are caught cheating and lying so often it's not fun anymore.

  • by rhook (943951) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @06:16AM (#31327890)
    Seriously, nothing good ever comes from talking to the police or giving them anything that they don't have a warrant or court order for. Police are also allowed to lie, however if you lie to them you're guilty of a crime.
  • TFA: "Me: ... What if I want to commit a serious crime in the future?"

    And he wonders why the police want to keep tabs on him?

  • by augustw (785088) <august@kororaa.com> on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @07:11AM (#31328162)

    The headline is incorrect: it's not UK police, it's English Police who hold onto DNA. DNA samples, and profiles, are routinely destroyed at the end of the relevant enquiry in Scotland, which is a quite distinct legal jurisdiction from England.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
      +6 Informative. I've made this same mistake above in my comments.

      Editors: Do your job and edit.
  • by geminidomino (614729) on Tuesday March 02, 2010 @11:24AM (#31330206) Journal

    Cops lie! Film at 11.

    In other news, the sun rises in the east, all operating systems suck, and a popular household baby food contains rat poison. Tune in after "House, M.D." to find out which one!

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