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DNA and Politics

John Rentoul, a journalist on a UK national newspaper, has happily tweeted this morning a comment about the government’s policies on DNA. For those who are lucky enough not to live in the UK, the system in place used to allow for all people stopped and arrested to have their DNA taken. Then, it was matched with any crimes the police could find. We are told that many old cases have been solved with recent DNA innovations. A particularly repellent man was yesterday put in gaol for life.


But now the dastardly government wants to do away with this.


Which is typical very silly politics and Rentoul should know a ruddy sight better.


You see what used to happen was, that if you were arrested by the police, your DNA would be stored and recorded – for life. Not if you were convicted of a crime, you’ll notice, no: Labour is a control-freak party that believes (against all logic and history) that the state is best. At all times, in all places. Including your life, whether you have already committed a crime or not. I say that because Tony Bliar was very keen on research that suggested it was possible to predict which children would become career criminals. So he planned that they could be taken from their parents and put up for adoption.


The man was, it has to be admitted, a megalomaniac of the very worst sort and not merely a deranged, money-grabbing war-monger.


But the idea of storing individuals’ DNA was OK, Labour said, because of course, if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear. Well, crap, actually.


If you shake hands with a man, and he climbs into a car, drives to a house, goes in and kills someone, your DNA will be there. In modern life it is damn difficult to imagine a possible crime which will not be contaminated. And that means Police who search for DNA may very easily be distracted by the wrong DNA.


A few years ago a European (German, I think) series of crimes was finally looked at again. Over many years this perpetrator had committed a number of crimes. They were utterly insoluble, covering a huge territory, and the MO was different for each, the timescales were confusing – all was terribly confusing. Until after six or so years, it was realised that the DNA being analysed had all been contaminated. They were looking for scientists in their labs, not the actual perpetrators. It set the cases back years. Probably several crooks will never be caught now, because of that blinkered search for DNA.


In England there is a new system of DNA analysis that takes trace samples and from that a computer model extrapolates what the DNA might have been originally. It is enthusiastically being sold all over the world. But in America and most other countries it’s rejected because it is not, never will be and cannot be, proof. It’s making up the DNA. Like saying, “The murderer’s name starts with a D, ends with an S. OK, so it’s you Mr Daniels!” brilliant, except Mr Davies, Mr Djanglies, Mr Donuts and many others would also fit the bill.


Still, Labour are fulminating about this silly government because they want to remove this database. They don’t want every person who has been arrested (whether charged or not) to be on a database. I rather like that idea.


Still, the man yesterday was probably responsible for some 200 crimes against the elderly, involving robbery and rape. It’s good he’s inside.


How was he caught? Not by DNA. He was caught by the police having an undercover operation for two weeks in an area he was known to target. They caught him by old-fashioned police work, not DNA.


DNA has never been a magic bullet. It is only corroborative. The sooner our thicker politicians can get that simple fact into their heads (which I personally doubt) the better.



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