1,500 children have DNA taken by North Yorkshire Police

MORE than 1,500 children as young as ten have had their DNA swabbed by North Yorkshire Police in the past two years, even if they are not charged with any offence.

Human rights campaigners called the practice “illiberal” and “cruel”, said it conditioned youngsters to think breaches of privacy were normal and said it presumed they would go on to live a life of crime.

Last year, samples were taken from 497 boys and 184 girls aged ten to 17, while in 2010 582 boys and 269 girls were swabbed, according to figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act.

Not all police forces take DNA samples from suspects of crimes, but under Home Office guidelines they can legally take them from anyone over the age of criminal responsibility, which is currently ten years old.

Of the 1532 swab samples taken from children in North Yorkshire in 2010 and 2011, 21 were taken from ten-year-olds, 36 from 11-year-olds, 84 from 12-year-olds, 162 from 13-year-olds, 254 from 14-year-olds, 290 from 15-year-olds, 299 from 16-year-olds and 406 from 17-year-olds.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: “DNA is a very important and successful tool used in the detection of crimes, some of which have been solved years after they were committed.

“DNA is stored in accordance with Home Office guidelines to help solve crimes and bring offenders to justice.”

But Gus Hosein, of Privacy International, said: “The rationale behind collecting and retaining a person’s DNA depends on two alternative presumptions: either the DNA will help solve a “cold” criminal case, or that person is likely to commit a crime in the future.

“Since ten-year-old children don't tend to have lengthy criminal histories, the former presumption will rarely apply.

“As for the latter, it seems illiberal – if not downright cruel – to presuppose that youngsters who find themselves in trouble with the police before even reaching adolescence will develop into hardened criminals as adults.

“DNA collection and retention is a significant breach of privacy that should be deployed when necessary, not by default. If today’s children come to think of it as commonplace, we should prepare ourselves for a future of invasive policing and repressive government.”

Police are allowed, but not legally required, to take DNA from mouth swabs, hair or blood samples regardless of whether that person is charged with an offence.

Previously they were allowed to keep the DNA profile and fingerprints even if a case is dropped – until the suspect reached 100 years old, but the Protection of Freedoms Bill, introduced earlier this year, requires the automatic deletion of innocent people’s records from the DNA and fingerprint databases, and the destruction of all DNA samples.

The person's records still remain on the Police National Database (PND). Currently, the Bill does not require these records to be deleted if a person is innocent: they will all be kept to age 100.

Of the 1532 children’s samples taken, the vast majority – 1486 – were taken from white North European nationalities.

Comments (15)

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10:14am Thu 8 Nov 12

Older Sometimes Wiser says...

It would seem that this is an obvious job for any new Police & Crime Commissioner, working in conjunction with existing Members of Parliament for North Yorkshire.
If we wish to avoid a police state there has to be better democratic control of what the Police can do. An assumption of potential guilt, which this infers, without a conviction is one step too far!
It would seem that this is an obvious job for any new Police & Crime Commissioner, working in conjunction with existing Members of Parliament for North Yorkshire. If we wish to avoid a police state there has to be better democratic control of what the Police can do. An assumption of potential guilt, which this infers, without a conviction is one step too far! Older Sometimes Wiser
  • Score: 0

10:20am Thu 8 Nov 12

Gary Gilmores Eyes says...

'the Protection of Freedoms Bill, introduced earlier this year, requires the automatic deletion of innocent people’s records from the DNA and fingerprint databases, and the destruction of all DNA samples'

Except that most police forces are refusing to do this!
An breaking the law into the bargin.

The big Brother State of the UK is here and now not in the future.

Wait until the new communications bill comes in! even worse.
We are all criminals in the eyes of the state, it's just that we have not committed a crime.... yet.

The state has got too big for its people.
'the Protection of Freedoms Bill, introduced earlier this year, requires the automatic deletion of innocent people’s records from the DNA and fingerprint databases, and the destruction of all DNA samples' Except that most police forces are refusing to do this! An breaking the law into the bargin. The big Brother State of the UK is here and now not in the future. Wait until the new communications bill comes in! even worse. We are all criminals in the eyes of the state, it's just that we have not committed a crime.... yet. The state has got too big for its people. Gary Gilmores Eyes
  • Score: 0

11:14am Thu 8 Nov 12

ian923 says...

The simple answer to not having your DNA taken is to not commit offences.
The simple answer to not having your DNA taken is to not commit offences. ian923
  • Score: 0

11:50am Thu 8 Nov 12

York1900 says...

most minor records of under 18 year olds deleted at 18 but I do not see it a problem it may put some off ever doing any crime in the future knowing that they can be found out

The only problem I can see is if they go on to commit more crimes up to18 and over

we are getting to tide up in rights for those who commit crimes wether they are adult or a child

some of these crimes are not even put forward to court for children because it serves no purpose to do so but the police keep the record as the punishment for the child to keep it's noise clean to 18
this is more of a deterrent than putting every child in front of the courts

.
most minor records of under 18 year olds deleted at 18 but I do not see it a problem it may put some off ever doing any crime in the future knowing that they can be found out The only problem I can see is if they go on to commit more crimes up to18 and over we are getting to tide up in rights for those who commit crimes wether they are adult or a child some of these crimes are not even put forward to court for children because it serves no purpose to do so but the police keep the record as the punishment for the child to keep it's noise clean to 18 this is more of a deterrent than putting every child in front of the courts . York1900
  • Score: 0

12:02pm Thu 8 Nov 12

Gary Gilmores Eyes says...

'York1900 says...
11:50am Thu 8 Nov 12

most minor records of under 18 year olds deleted at 18'


That is not the case.
All the information is retained on the PNC despite the offences being spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.
So not really wiped clean at all. This issue will keep many people from visiting the USA in the future.
'York1900 says... 11:50am Thu 8 Nov 12 most minor records of under 18 year olds deleted at 18' That is not the case. All the information is retained on the PNC despite the offences being spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. So not really wiped clean at all. This issue will keep many people from visiting the USA in the future. Gary Gilmores Eyes
  • Score: 0

12:02pm Thu 8 Nov 12

Gary Gilmores Eyes says...

'York1900 says...
11:50am Thu 8 Nov 12

most minor records of under 18 year olds deleted at 18'


That is not the case.
All the information is retained on the PNC despite the offences being spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.
So not really wiped clean at all. This issue will keep many people from visiting the USA in the future.
'York1900 says... 11:50am Thu 8 Nov 12 most minor records of under 18 year olds deleted at 18' That is not the case. All the information is retained on the PNC despite the offences being spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. So not really wiped clean at all. This issue will keep many people from visiting the USA in the future. Gary Gilmores Eyes
  • Score: 0

12:04pm Thu 8 Nov 12

Pete the Brickie says...

Nothing wrong with this at all, as long as when a DNA sample matches a person to a crime in later life the facts are checked and re-checked properly as in is not infallable.
Nothing wrong with this at all, as long as when a DNA sample matches a person to a crime in later life the facts are checked and re-checked properly as in is not infallable. Pete the Brickie
  • Score: 0

1:56pm Thu 8 Nov 12

ExPatBob says...

Ian923. Just because you have been arrested. It doesn't mean you have done anything wrong.. You are only suspected of committing an offence. Maybe on the back of a pack of lies.
Ian923. Just because you have been arrested. It doesn't mean you have done anything wrong.. You are only suspected of committing an offence. Maybe on the back of a pack of lies. ExPatBob
  • Score: 0

2:25pm Thu 8 Nov 12

lowbeam says...

ian923 wrote:
The simple answer to not having your DNA taken is to not commit offences.
I totaly agree with you,and before some one get's all high and mighty,in my youth i was a bit of a bad lad and have seen both sides
[quote][p][bold]ian923[/bold] wrote: The simple answer to not having your DNA taken is to not commit offences.[/p][/quote]I totaly agree with you,and before some one get's all high and mighty,in my youth i was a bit of a bad lad and have seen both sides lowbeam
  • Score: 0

3:34pm Thu 8 Nov 12

RooBeck says...

Detainees who were found to be completely innocent, by the fact that they were victims of say mistaken identity or, a mistake by the police and for example, may have been a thousand miles away at the time of an offence, nevertheless, the legislation (passed by the surveillance happy New Labour governments between 1997-2005), allowed the police to retain any samples taken at the time of their arrest/detention and the only redress was to request individual Chief Constables to remove them from the database or, appeal to the High Courts/European Courts. For any people caught-up in such a nightmare scenario, then, this is indeed, a welcome change to the law and yes, Ian923 and lowbeam, this could have been anyone of us!!!
Detainees who were found to be completely innocent, by the fact that they were victims of say mistaken identity or, a mistake by the police and for example, may have been a thousand miles away at the time of an offence, nevertheless, the legislation (passed by the surveillance happy New Labour governments between 1997-2005), allowed the police to retain any samples taken at the time of their arrest/detention and the only redress was to request individual Chief Constables to remove them from the database or, appeal to the High Courts/European Courts. For any people caught-up in such a nightmare scenario, then, this is indeed, a welcome change to the law and yes, Ian923 and lowbeam, this could have been anyone of us!!! RooBeck
  • Score: 0

3:47pm Thu 8 Nov 12

turkey kid says...

it gose both ways it can clear you as well .the old saying nothing to hide ????????
it gose both ways it can clear you as well .the old saying nothing to hide ???????? turkey kid
  • Score: 0

5:42pm Thu 8 Nov 12

lowbeam says...

DNA also helps in other ways,any one of you dumbo's thought of that?
I do not include you in that general saying pete,you are ,like me..grass roots
DNA also helps in other ways,any one of you dumbo's thought of that? I do not include you in that general saying pete,you are ,like me..grass roots lowbeam
  • Score: 0

9:30pm Thu 8 Nov 12

baldiebiker says...

I think everybody should have their DNA put on record, then we would all have to behave wouldn't we.
I think everybody should have their DNA put on record, then we would all have to behave wouldn't we. baldiebiker
  • Score: 0

3:33am Fri 9 Nov 12

Big Nic says...

Most articles by this particular reporter are total drivel.
If a child, and by child it will be aged 10 and over, commits an offence that it is both necessary and proportionate to arrest them they have their DNA taken by means of a cotton bud wiped inside their cheek. How exactly is this 'cruel'??
If that child goes on to commit further offences it will be useful to have their DNA, if they don't what harm is it doing them??
Remember that DNA can help prove your innocence equally as much as your guilt.
Most articles by this particular reporter are total drivel. If a child, and by child it will be aged 10 and over, commits an offence that it is both necessary and proportionate to arrest them they have their DNA taken by means of a cotton bud wiped inside their cheek. How exactly is this 'cruel'?? If that child goes on to commit further offences it will be useful to have their DNA, if they don't what harm is it doing them?? Remember that DNA can help prove your innocence equally as much as your guilt. Big Nic
  • Score: 0

11:22am Fri 9 Nov 12

Von_Dutch says...

Wholeheartedly agree with you Big Nic.
Wholeheartedly agree with you Big Nic. Von_Dutch
  • Score: 0

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