There seems to be a growing culture amongst law enforcement agencies to collect DNA from everyone that they can. This is being made possible in more and more areas by laws which allow DNA to be taken and stored from anyone who gets arrested. If you think that you might have an active arrest warrant somewhere then you would be wise to check and if you have one get it dealt with as soon as you can. If you don’t get arrested then you won’t be forced to donate your DNA.
“Why is this such a big deal?” I hear you ask. Isn’t it a good thing that DNA information is available to the police so that they can identify more suspects in crimes? On the face of it you would be right. Using DNA matching techniques investigators are able to eliminate suspects where the DNA does not match. They can also search the ever growing database of DNA samples to find suspects that would otherwise go undetected even when decades have passed since the crime was committed.
When used responsibly by professional investigators, DNA matching can be a very powerful ally to law enforcement but can you trust this kind of technological power to the people who run our justice systems? A recent case in the UK would suggest that you can not. A man was convicted for a rape 16 years before when the only real evidence presented was a DNA match. While the DNA made the defendant a suspect it certainly did not prove guilt and yet the jury saw fit to convict.
So my advice is to go out of your way to avoid getting yourself arrested. One way to help you do this and keep your DNA to yourself is to regularly check your warrants for arrest and deal with them before the police get around to acting on it.
Author: Steve Gee