DNA Tests On Litterbugs
Dropping litter is definitely annoying, disrespectful and anti-social, but does it necessitate police interaction? And not just interaction but the taking of DNA samples for potential DNA tests? According to recent reports, the police are seeking powers to take samples for DNA tests from people committing minor offences such as dropping litter. Failing to wear your seatbelt, speeding and just for being suspicious in general – if this power is granted, a police officer will be able to pull you over and take a piece of your very identity – your DNA, using a mouth swab.
DNA is used extensively in fighting crime; samples are used for tests which can establish whether or not a suspect is connected to a crime scene for example. But many believe tests for minor offences will be a waste of police time.
DNA Tests Raise Ethical Questions
There are investigations ongoing into the current national DNA database controversy – the largest of its kind in the world. Adding the DNA samples of those committing minor offences will mean the scale of the database will be huge. DNA tests can be valuable, but there are concerns that these tests could be used unethically. As it is, civil liberty groups are concerned about the number of children and young black men on the national DNA database.
Using Tests or Minor Offences
There are fears that the increased use of DNA samples for minor offences that could be used in DNA tests is criminalising a generally law-abiding public. Aside from the civil liberty issues, the increased use of taking DNA samples could stretch an already over-stretched police force. Some civil liberty groups are accusing the government of obtaining DNA samples that could be used in DNA tests ‘by stealth’ and critics of the database are finding it hard to justify taking DNA samples for such minor offences.
Public Enquiry into Testing DNA
There are currently thought to be over 100 DNA samples of children under the age of ten on the database – the idea that a child who is not yet old enough to be accountable for a crime is on the database has enraged some civil liberty groups. The database costs hundreds of millions of Pounds to maintain. A public inquiry has been launched into the database as DNA tests represent a huge invasion of a person’s privacy. To take a DNA test such as a paternity test for example, consent is needed. There are concerns that the DNA database criminalises people and takes their control away. Some MPs are calling for a serious debate on the issue before the powers of the police are extended.
The chair of the National DNA Database, Tony Lake, has since dismissed the notion of taking DNA samples for minor offences such as dropping litter.
Dog Poo DNA Testing
Local councils and private individuals are turning to dog poop DNA testing in order to reduce the amount of dog litter on the streets. The problem of dog owners not picking up their dog mess is becoming a problem across the UK and many other countries. Dog poop DNA testing is proving hugely effective in cleaning the streets an getting irresponsible dog owners to clean up after their dogs. All dog owners in a community would need to register their dog’s DNA with the authorities who would in turn get the dog’s DNA profile stored in a database. If any poop is found on the street or in a park, a sample can be collected and run against all the dog DNA profiles in the database. A match, and you have found the culprit.