ACPO is no longer tolerable as an organisation. It’s a freefloating lobby for ever-greater authoritarianism. Seriously.

Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard and the new DNA spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said a debate was needed on how far Britain should go in identifying potential offenders, given that some experts believe it is possible to identify future offending traits in children as young as five.

‘If we have a primary means of identifying people before they offend, then in the long-term the benefits of targeting younger people are extremely large,’ said Pugh. ‘You could argue the younger the better. Criminologists say some people will grow out of crime; others won’t. We have to find who are possibly going to be the biggest threat to society.’

Pugh admitted that the deeply controversial suggestion raised issues of parental consent, potential stigmatisation and the role of teachers in identifying future offenders, but said society needed an open, mature discussion on how best to tackle crime before it took place. There are currently 4.5 million genetic samples on the UK database – the largest in Europe – but police believe more are required to reduce crime further. ‘The number of unsolved crimes says we are not sampling enough of the right people,’ Pugh told The Observer….

The ID card scheme is on its last legs; note that the heart of it, the NIR, has been shunted back from 2004 to 2012, whatever pretendy-wee bollocks they rush out for face-saving purposes. But the control industry keeps rolling along.

Also note this:

‘Fingerprints, somehow, are far less contentious,’ he said. ‘We have children giving their fingerprints when they are borrowing books from a library.’

When we say that the efforts to push biometrics and RFID on schools are intended to soften up the public for more state surveillance, they call us paranoid extremists. And then, the head of biometrics at ACPO says that’s precisely what they are doing.


  1. Criminologists say some people will grow out of crime; others won’t.

    Ahem. Some criminologists say “if you look at the set of all kids who behave badly at nursery school, the chances are that the set of kids who start fights at primary school is a subset, and the set of kids who regularly truant from secondary school is a subset of that, and the set of young adults who get into trouble with the police… well, you see where we’re going with this one”.

    Other criminologists say “well, er, maybe” or “no, not really” or “are you serious?”. Or possibly “even if you’re right, have you any idea what you get when you take 20% of 20% of 20% of 20%? 60% false positives, that’s what”.

    Pugh obviously knows a bit about developmental criminology (a highly dodgy sub-discipline, to my way of thinking). But not much; in the line I’ve quoted he’s conflated the childhood risk-factor model with the unrelated argument that some offending careers are “life-course persistent” while others are “adolescence-limited”. All the studies I’ve seen suggest that in practice it’s horrendously difficult to identify children who will at some future stage be at risk of becoming offenders; I don’t think anyone’s even floated the idea of identifying those who will become *persistent* offenders.

  2. Oops – 20%^3 is 0.008 (not 0.08), so that’s 19 and a bit false positives out of 20 (not 12).

  1. 1 links for 2008-03-17 at Matthew Henty

    […] No. Just No. Just No. « Alternate Seat of TYR The latest ACPO nonsense. This is too much – why does anyone listen to them? (tags: ACPO FUBAR DNA profiling) […]

  2. 2 but how do I vote against them? « Alternate Seat of TYR

    […] said it before; ACPO must go. It’s Britain’s newest political party, a free-floating lobby for authoritarianism that […]

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