Trigger warning: Law


Right, Thisbe has been going through my mind since Sunday and I’m interested in the DiS view on this.

Their was a horrendous sexual assault in my hometown about 3 months ago and it is still front page news as its so Unusual to happen. The police have drawn a blank so far and have started going to any males 20-40 who have lived in the area in n the past 5 years taking fingerprints, dna, only stopping them being a suspect when they can provide an alibi as if they were a suspect.

The boys I was drinking with Sunday were all on board with this and happily went along with it - but I’ve never been asked - so it’s not everyone. Even though I’d happily go along with it bearing in mind the crime.

Is this normal? I’ve never heard of anything like this before…I thought there’d have to be a reason to suspect to collect someone’s information or am I misguided?


I have definitely heard of this happening before but can’t think of the circumstances off the top of my head.

Personally I would definitely go along with this, and I guess the police feel they have no other option to solve a serious crime. Have no real difficulty with the police having my finger prints and DNA.


They cant force people to do it but people are welcome to volunteer if its done lawfully. I would personally not be up for the police gathering masses of our biometric data unnecessarily.


The first ever DNA profiling case was carried out in this manner. It’s how they caught Colin Pitchfork.


Yeah, in addition to gathering the information, there are also big concerns about the police retaining it, even after they’ve been asked to remove someone from the DNA register by the courts, watchdogs etc.

Part of that is because the police didn’t want to comply, and part of it is because they’d not kept proper records of what they had. Both are very worrying.


My grandad was interviewed as a part of the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ investigation. Thing is, every person fitting a profile (age, height, appearance) was in the same position.

Surprised to learn they would do this for sexual assault. First time I have heard of them doing it for that particular crime


Other than some very, very rare scenarios, honestly think that if you have nothing to hide,you have nothing to worry about.
What are people’s concerns with what the police will do with this information, outside of using it in some of the most serious cases of violent and sexual crimes? Even if they use it outside of these, what would the concern be? Would happy for everyone to have their DNA on record for police to use.
I mean, the concern might be that any large institutions record keeping in this country is shambolic…but…whatever


This is probably the only issue. Plenty of documented cases where samples are contaminated / mixed up ‘in the lab’ and bearing in mind that DNA evidence is virtually 100% accurate, a miscarriage of justice would be pretty difficult to overturn.
That said, I would still offer mine if asked


Not really though, is it? There are lots of issues with the state holding huge amounts of data about you in one place, and the kind of policies they might bring in as a result of having that information.


My FIL was tested as part of this. Hadn’t realised there were only 5,000 tested.


Do you think there’s merit bearing in mind the severity of the crime?

Hypothetically, would you have refused?


thing about dna samples is that they’re lifelong. so while the current shitty government doing anything with my DNA isn’t an issue, do i feel as sure about the possibilities in 30 years’ time?

you’re not giving your dna to just this govt. you’re giving it to all govts from that point onwards, and honestly with the current climate who knows how fucking dark that gets.


i think i’d at least be wanting to know the logic of testing. if someone got hurt etc in my town, that makes sense. i’m not sure at what point of catchment area i start asking why, though.


I do think that there’s merit in collecting this information as a temporary measure, but the police are notorious for holding records beyond when they should, and for having incredibly lax procedures for protecting data - especially data that has numerous uses beyond crime prevention (eg health insurance etc).

It’s not helped by the police increasing the use of arrest, rather than interviewing people, so that they can demand a DNA sample, which highlights the direction in which they’d default if given additional powers on this.


yep yep. there’s that very creepy sense of ‘well if you’re innocent why SHOULDN’T we have your DNA?’


Think that’s the difference in my thinking. The Tory government are unpleasant imo, obviously, but think there is a big difference in the current, more right wing setup and the view that we’re heading towards a dark 1984 scenario. Just think that the risk of that is ludicrously over egged and misjudged, imo.


i think, perhaps, you’re thinking in terms of the next say three governments, or five even. i guess i’m saying we’ll be alive hopefully long enough to see a great many more than that. things can step over into right-wing horrible bullshit very quickly indeed, and while you might say ‘it’s over egged’ the obvious counterpoint is ‘surely that doesn’t mean you take every potential risk on that assumption’?


People who are in favour of punitive legislation (like mass surveillance, sus laws, joint enterprise, DNA retention, capital punishment) honestly believe it will never happen to them. That it’s for other people who are not like them. Don’t trust such people.


such a broad brush, sweeping generalisation! getting capital punishment in at the end there as well. Silly


and while we’re at 1984 sort of thinking, here’s a scenario for you.

I would like to put a camera in the home (lounge and kitchen) of every house in England.

I’m telling you that i’m never ever going to look at those feeds unless, say, someone gets murdered on your street, or maximum two streets over. That’s it. I promise i’ll never look at it otherwise, and even when that happens the only obvious issue would be if you were doing something illegal at the time i check the feeds. but you’re an innocent person so that’s fine.

so based on my promises there, what’s the issue?