Now there’s an idea.

The murder of Jo Yeates has shocked and gripped the nation in equal measure. Following a flurry of early activity, the news from the local police has dried up. It would appear that perhaps the odd, eccentric landlord public school teacher with mad hair didn’t do it after all.

The thing is the longer the case goes unsolved, the more unlikely it is that the killer will be caught.

If only there were some way of approaching this problem. . .

Ah, here we go. Here’s a cracker.

calls for the DNA screening of all men in Bristol as part of the hunt for the murderer of Jo Yeates.

Bloody police. Get out there and do the detective wor. . . hmmmm? What? Not a policeman? Must be some kind of criminologist then.

No?

Well. . . who?

A MP has backed calls for the DNA screening of all men in Bristol as part of the hunt for the murderer of Jo Yeates.*

Oh God. Hang on, this murder, where did it take place? Jesus, it was Brizzle, wasn’t it? Bristol MP. . . I’ve a bad feeling about this. . .

Bristol East Labour MP Kerry McCarthy said if police thought the exercise was worthwhile she believed most men would understand why they were being asked.

Oh fuck. It had to be, didn’t it?

What about the men who didn’t understand, Kerry? Hmmmm? What about the men who would view it as a gross invasion of their most personal, private possession? Or don’t they count? Does your ‘all men’ stretch to, ooooh, let’s say Stephen Williams, Lib Dem MP for Bristol West? Is he a suspect now?

She said DNA testing had proved useful in other murder cases.

Well, yes. So does a person standing over the body with a smoking gun shouting ‘I done it! I killed ‘em! They had it coming and I don’t care who knows!’ Is there any way we could organise that?

Ms McCarthy said she believed the majority of people would be sympathetic to requests for DNA samples.

Do you Kerry? Do you? But what of those who are not? I would be amongst them. Would my lack of ovine acquiesence lead to my arrest under suspicion of murder? Or would I be charged with obstructing an officer? How about failing to do what an MP says? Is that an offence yet?

She added: “But rather than taking DNA just from men in the Clifton area, where the population is somewhat transient, the operation should be widened to include the whole of the city.

Well why stop there? Who is to say the killer is still in Bristol? They could be anywhere in Somerset. What about England, the UK, Europe? They could be anywhere, Bristol has an airport and a docks, they could literally be anywhere in the whole world.

Hang on, we don’t know that the killer was a man, should we perhaps get DNA from all the women as well? They’ll understand, and you can’t be too careful. They could take yours!

“Quite how the police would organise this I don’t know,” she added.

Yes, I’ve a man for that sort of thing. Just be a good chap and go and sort it out won’t you?

Perhaps some sort of database?

We’ve been here before, haven’t we?

Kerry, sweetheart, there’s a reason you are out of power. Actually, there’s scores of reasons you are out of power, but this is one of the biggies. The Coalition maybe a foetid crock of fly blown, greeney mucus ridden diarrhoea induced shit, but they are so monumentally superior to you (and please, take this personally, I’m not talking about your party here, the Coalition are only marginally superior to them) in almost every respect that the words to allow me to express the contempt in which I hold you simply don’t exist .

But then, I’m a man, so I’m probably in the frame for every case of rape, murder, child abuse and cattle rustling in my area as far as you’re concerned.

*We’ll leave aside that that should be ‘An MP’ for the moment.

The One That Is Still Banging On About DNA. . .

When I posted the reply I got from Julian Brazier the other day about DNA retention, my comment was that the Tory line was ‘an improvement, even if a slight one.’

I fear I may have done Mr. Brazier and the Conservative party an injustice. Now that doesn’t mean that the Tories are a shining beacon of civil liberties whom angels shall surely sing to their final rest, it is just that Labour are so, so, so wrong and so, so, so repulsive that the Tory position is as preferable as a nice cup of tea and a biscuit is to having one’s internal organs removed by a narcoleptic orang-utan with use of a plastic spoon whilst he plays the hits of Phil Collins on the kazoo.

What could possibly have made me reveal this train of thought?

A sortie over the blogosphere this evening has drawn two items to my attention.

Firstly Julia M/Ambush Predator writes a thorough fisking of some of the worst, most objectionable, 14 pints of Stella induced cloudy piss ridden. . . well. . . tosh from the Postman who somehow now holds one of the highest offices in the land. I won’t post any excerpts here as I’ll only go and post the whole bloody thing, do go and read it if you have a minute or two to spare.

The second item, slipped most unobtrusively into a post written by Mr. Civil Libertarian (he who was until recently ‘Their contempt for you is total’), is a heads up about a posting over at Labour List (God help us). Kudos to Mr C.L., I can’t stomach Labour List, after a few minutes I realise that a mixture of salt and plutonium dust poured into my eyes would be less irritating. Anyhow it’s from some arseclown called Matthew Zarb-Cousin and it contains the following passage:

“Do you want to live in a society where everyone is considered a potential criminal?”, asked Will Self on Question Time last Thursday. The reality, and I hate to break it to you, Will, is that everyone is a potential criminal.

Ladies and Germs, I give you the Labour party. The only thing which is missing from the article is the patronising little chuckle and knowing look as they point out that when they say everyone, that doesn’t include MPs, peers and any Labour Party officials. They would never commit a crime such as a traffic offence, or fraud, for example.

The One That Got A Reply. . .

A short while ago I blogged about an email I had sent my MP about the retention of DNA belonging to the innocent on yet another database. I promised at the time I would report on any reply I received.

Here is that reply in full;

Dear Wolfers,

Thank you for your email of 11th November about the retention of the DNA of innocent people. I share your concerns on this issue and agree with much of what you say. I acknowledge that DNA evidence can play a vital role in modern criminal investigations, but the current system is in urgent need of reform.

My colleagues and I are very concerned about the growth of the DNA Database. There are now 5.9 million DNA profiles on the National Database, making it the largest in the world. The Government has previously admitted that around one million profiles were those of innocent people who had not been not convicted (sic), cautioned, formally warned or reprimanded.

In December 2008, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that two British men should not have had their DNA retained by police, as neither was convicted of any offence. The principle upheld by the judgement – that innocent people should not be on the DNA database indefinitely – should have been respected, yet the Government continues to merely adjust the length of time that DNA can be retained.

The Home Secretary recently announced plans to retain the DNA profiles of 16 or 17-year-olds arrested for a serious, violent or sexual crime for six years, even if they are not convicted. In addition to this, the DNA of adults who are not convicted would be retained for six years. When this legislation comes before the Houses of Parliament, my Party will argue that the Government has completely missed the point. People in Britain are innocent until proven guilty and the retention of DNA should reflect this fundamental principle.

Conservatives (sic) plans to adopt a system similar used to that in Scotland, where the DNA profiles of those not convicted of an offence would only be retained in circumstances where the charges related to a crime of violence or a sexual offence. In these circumstances, DNA profiles could be retained for a maximum period of five years, subject to a judicial oversight. This system meets the requirements of the European Court of Human Rights, has proved more effective than the larger database in England and Wales, and will restore the fundamental rights of the individuals.

I hope this is helpful.

(Illegible Scrawl) – Julian Brazier, T.D., M.P.

Most of the letter seems to be a template which is no doubt trotted out to anyone who writes on this subject, and predictably it trots out the same stats that I used or were very well aware of.

The rest of it? Well, it is re-assuring to see that on the face of it, the Tories are a little less obsessed with harvesting our data, but looking further there isn’t a great deal of difference.


‘DNA profiles of those not convicted of an offence would only be retained in circumstances where the charges related to a crime of violence or a sexual offence.’

So even if you bop someone on the nose in a pub scrap you’d be retained or if you were the subject of a proven unfounded rape/sexual assault/sexual harrassment claim, you’d be retained, unless a judge or magistrate had the foresight to demand your material’s removal from the database. Supposing you don’t get as far as court? What if the CPS refuse charge or the police decide you didn’t do it? What then? Will they remove it as a matter of course? The implication is still that if you are accused, you are guilty of something.

An improvement, even if a slight one.

It’s justice, Jim, but not as we know it.

The One That Wrote A Letter. . .

To his MP (Julian Brazier, CON). Probably a waste of time, but I feel very strongly about this. This is a watershed moment, a point of no return. As soon as the state owns little bits of innocent people, the rest of our mortal bodies will follow as sure as day follows night.

Commit a crime, you’ve got it coming.

Don’t commit a crime, you should be free, free, free.

This is not freedom.

I will post the reply, if one is forthcoming.

Dear Venal Corrupt Trougher, (I didn’t really put that, but was sorely tempted)

I am writing to voice my objection, in the strongest possible fashion, to the retention of the DNA sequences of the innocent on what I can only find referred to as ‘the database’. (BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8353824.stm) and other major media outlets, today).

It is my belief that a person’s DNA is their most private and personal data, and for the state to appropriate this material at their leisure fundamentally changes the relationship between citizen and state in a most disturbing and Orwellian way. I, and every other person resident in the UK, do not belong to the state. I am a private citizen, and my own personal bio-data belongs to me.

I am thankful that, as far as I am aware, my DNA sequence does not appear on ‘the database’, I have not been arrested and had my DNA taken from me. However I completely agree with the civil liberties campaigners who are so unhappy with the practice of retention.

I have always been of the impression that the police were an agency tasked with enforcing the law, however I become more and more wary as they embark on what amounts to lobbying and media spin. For them to say that ‘retaining samples has helped solve crimes’ seems a reasonable assertation on the face of it, but when one investigates the figures it becomes clear that a collection of almost 6,000,000 profiles has helped to solve 0.7% of crimes. Even when accounting for the hundreds of acts this government has declared criminal since taking power, one can only conclude that we are living in a society where crime is the norm, or that DNA retention is not as useful a tool as we are led to believe.

The argument is illogical. Where do we draw the line? It is all very well to talk in terms of rapists and murderers, but the Home Office and police seem to lose sight of the fact that these people have been arrested under suspicion of a crime, not convicted of its perpetration. The inference from the HO is that whilst it could not be proven that an individual committed an offence, they were arrested, so must have some degree of guilt – this goes against the practice of proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If we take the argument that retention helps solve crimes, an argument built on weasel words if ever I heard one, then it would be logical to ensure everyone’s DNA is taken from them at birth (this is not an argument I subscribe to). A step further? Those arrested and not charged or acquitted in court, being made to report to a police station on a weekly basis? Or being tagged?

Given this account from Cambridgeshire (Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1226688/Grandfather-arrested-dawn-held-police-cell-SIX-hours-using-single-swear-word-council-official.html) 11th November) is this man to have his DNA sequence retained, lest he be a rapist or murderer?

This practice reduces the private citizen to the status of a chattel. It is the 21st century equivalent to a Stasi file, an indication of the attitude that everyone is guilty of something and it is only a matter of time before it reveals itself. It is also only as good as the people who administer it, and whilst I would hesistate to accuse the police of tampering with evidence, poor lab practice or searching only for a DNA sample at a crime scene can and will lead to miscarriages of justice.

I find this practice to be repugnant and deeply, deeply sinister, and would hope in the likely event of a Conservative victory at the next general election, that a new Tory administration would ensure that the data of the innocent is destroyed as soon as that innocence cannot be dis-proved.

Best wishes,

Wolfers.

The One That Is Going To Pay Up. . .

. . . Eventually.

Ministers are to trim the number of DNA profiles on a national database by up to 850,000 after a court ruled innocent people must be removed.


Thank God for that, because just as with the Gurkhas, the government seemed determined to ignore what they were told and do what they wanted anyway.


Those arrested, but later released or acquitted, will have their profiles wiped after between six and 12 years.

Oh well, I suppose I can follow their example. I’ll withold my council and road tax, and when they come calling I’ll tell them I will pay, within the next six to twelve years. How much water do you think that would hold?

The One That Thinks It Is A Step In The Right Direction. . .

Well done to the European Court of Human Rights for deciding that it is a breach of human rights to store the DNA and fingerprints of the innocent on a database.

What a sad day when the government of a country that used to be a bastion of liberty the whole world looked to is taken to court over this horrible and disturbing policy. It is even sadder that Jacqui Smith seems determined to ignore the ruling. But then this is what happens when you speak against our glorious leaders, you get ignored. At best.

Leg-Iron has a good posting on this subject.

I’ll leave you with these points:

DNA and fingerprints of the innocent being kept against their human rights.
Opposition MPs having their offices searched without proper procedure being followed.
Opposition MPs being arrested.
People being stopped and searched on the street for no reason other than the plastic plod felt like it.
The threat of being carted off to the cells for being unable to provide ID for no reason other than the proper plod feel like it.

They may have been writing about the USA, but the line from Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Know Your Enemy’ seems quite apt; ‘the land of the free? Whoever told you that is your enemy.’

UPDATE

I’ve removed a comment from some spammer telling me how I can earn £5000 buy doing something. I didn’t really pay attention.

I don’t like deleting comments and have never done so before. I don’t mind if you disagree with me, but please don’t try and sell me stuff. If I want it, I’ll already have it or will go out and get it off my own back.