Brit Cops Want Speeders' and Seat Belt Scofflaws' DNA

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

As we've pointed out previously, the UK is now the most heavily surveiled country on planet Earth– thanks in part to their huge network of speeding cameras and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems. The Guardian reports that the police are now asking for powers to add to their national DNA database by taking on-the-spot DNA samples from suspects accused of minor offenses, such as littering, speeding or not wearing a seat belt. The UK DNA database is already the world's largest, with 3.4m profiles (roughly 5% of the population). So far, official objections to the scheme are centering on racial profiling. A spokeswoman for the Commission for Racial Equality said: "Statistics paint a frightening picture. Black men are four times more likely than white men to have their DNA profiles stored in the police national DNA database. In the interests of fairness we would like to call for DNA profiles to be limited to those that are convicted only."

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

More by Robert Farago

Join the conversation
4 of 5 comments
  • Quasimondo Quasimondo on Aug 02, 2007

    Ha! Good one!

  • Confused1096 Confused1096 on Aug 02, 2007

    This message brought to you by the Ministry of Truth.

  • Jaymez Jaymez on Aug 02, 2007

    1984 anyone?

  • Humourless Humourless on Aug 03, 2007

    Why has the UK come off the rails so badly in this area? It's not like this is a tired left vs. right debate, as I don't see/hear their Tory party going homonidpoo over the degree of surveillance (though perhaps the LibDems might have an issue with it... Katie, care to take a shot at this one)? And it can't solely be because of the ASBO culture or terrorism; this sort of thing began to happen many years ago. My wife, who is British, doesn't seem bothered by any of these stories (though in fairness she came from a rough part of Glasgow where "whit tha fack 'r yoo lookin' at, bawbag?" was a more standard greeting than "hello".