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UK Police Promise Not To Retain DNA Data, But Do Anyway

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the most-private-thing dept.

Biotech 372

redalien writes "In 2008 I invited two policemen into my home and voluntarily gave them a DNA and fingerprint sample to help with a murder investigation, as they'd promised it would only be used for that investigation. I was never under any suspicion and could just as easily have said no. Almost a year after the investigation closed they have now confirmed that they've retained my samples and at my request have begun an investigation to see if there are sufficient 'exceptional circumstances' to remove them. I'm not the only one who was told samples would be removed, so if you've had such a promise from the police I recommend contacting their data protection registrar immediately."

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372 comments

Not the first (5, Insightful)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327216)

This isn't the first time the police have lied.

Animal House (3, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327474)

A line from National Lampoon's Animal House came to my mind first thing:

"You can't spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You fucked up... you trusted us!"

I mean really - how could this guy possibly have expected them do drop something as useful* as a DNA fingerprint?

* useful in this context means "everyone is a suspect which makes my job easier as a cop"

Re:Animal House (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327788)

I think what the parent is actually saying, in slightly more diplomatic terms is "if everyone has their DNA on file, then I don't have to get off my fat donut eating arse cheeks and do any actual detective work, I can just click a few buttons and send someone directly to jail - or two people with identical DNA, who really cares"

Re:Not the first (4, Insightful)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327582)

He could have spotted the lie just as soon as they promised him the samples would be removed. Almost everybody on /. knows that it is almost impossible to delete data from fail-over sites, backups, archived data, etc. in a way that one can guarantee that all traces of the data has really been destroyed everywhere...

Re:Not the first (5, Informative)

DangerFace (1315417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327780)

On the bright side there is an increasing consensus that DNA evidence is a lot less useful than CSI: would have us believe.

It makes sense, really - it takes quite a while and a fairly large sample to sequence someone's genome with proper error checking, so the crime labs generally don't bother. Instead, they focus on a few areas of chromosomes called loci, and pick sections of non-coding DNA called short tandem repeats. US labs will normally look at 13 loci, UK labs 10. Many experts have testified in a court of law, under oath, that a match of nine loci is 'tantamount to unique identification'.

Studies have been done on small sections of some DNA databases, comparing every profile with every other profile, and found this to simply be false. In Arizona 65 493 profiles were made available - 122 pairs matched at nine loci, 20 at ten, 1 at eleven and 1 more at twelve. In Illinois 220 000 were checked, and 903 pairs matched at nine or more loci, and in Maryland 30 000 were checked, providing 32 matching pairs.

Add to this the problem that eyelashes, skin fragments etc can be carried on the wind, or from a random frottage, and we have some important cases being 'solved' with what amounts to deeply circumstantial evidence. With any luck this fascination with DNA being used as the be all and end all, the assayer of truth, will end as soon as possible.

PS: most of that informative stuff about loci and short tandem repeats was pretty much lifted from New Scientist #2742, dated 9 January 2010. IANAGeneticist, and would feel a small pang of guilt without adding this disclaimer.

Re:Not the first (2, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327876)

On the not so bright side, this won't stop the police from turning your life upside down if you happen to be unlucky enough to match someone else in their database - and I speculate that much of what you describe is not terribly well known to the lay person, which would mean that without a hell of a good alibi it could still be enough to get you convicted.

Re:Not the first (3, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327882)

On the bright side there is an increasing consensus that DNA evidence is a lot less useful than CSI: would have us believe.

No, that isn't the bright side, and you misunderstand the meaning of "useful" as far as DNA databasing is concerned. As long as the jury believes all that CSI stuff, DNA evidence is just as useful as everyone thinks for getting a conviction, getting the case closed, and making the police's detection statistics look good. The DNA evidence might not be so useful for getting the right person convicted, but that doesn't appear in anybody's performance indicators so that doesn't matter to anybody. Except to the poor sucker put away for a crime they didn't commit, but they're a convict now and nobody cares what they think.

Re:Not the first (5, Insightful)

Cassini2 (956052) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327694)

Police are allowed to participate in a ruse to gain the trust of a suspect.

Make no mistake. You were a suspect in a murder case, until cleared. In a police investigation, everyone is a potential suspect. As such, be careful what you volunteer, because until proven otherwise, you are a suspect and can be lied to.

Re:Not the first (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327740)

Make no mistake. You were a suspect in a murder case, until cleared.

I was? Who did I allegedly kill?

Re:Not the first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327770)

This isn't the first time the police have lied.

This is not Insightful, it is common knowledge. Just about every police force in the world; third world or developed, are almost always perpetually authoritarian in nature, and will lie, steel and cheat to back up their colleagues in collusion.

There are numerous interviews and psychological profiles that you have to pass in order to get into the police force (in Canada at least, and I presume places like Britain as well). If you are HONEST then you will likely end up like Serpico [wikipedia.org] (NYPD) or Richard Barlow [wikipedia.org] (of the CIA). They don't just let anybody in. You need to be despicable and have an aura of authority and leadership in your demeanor (or, at the very least, have an average enough IQ that you notice or stir shit when it happens). You need to be able to Think of the Children and the Public Safety when controlling people. Clearly not all police officers are corrupt. But chances are excellent that if they advanced in their careers they have gotten away with a LOT. It's a psychological fact that Leaders of Corporations tend to have psychopathic personalities (a fact that became well known by the documentary The Corporation [wikipedia.org] ). The same appears to be true of police departments. Not to long ago I remember the head of the RCMP (Giuliano Zaccardelli [wikipedia.org] ) was forced to resign because of NUMEROUS corruption related incidents. He later got a job with a UN agency. It's a nasty business, protecting the public, especially if you happen to be a member of the public. There are so many incidents of police corruption in high places that I can think of (the ones that have been reported by the media), I wish I had the heart to spend a few hours and describe them here. It's depressing. It amazes me that the "outstanding" and revered and overpaid members of society are (almost) always corrupt, immoral and incompetent.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a cop, but I have known cops (and wannabe-cops).

Re:Not the first (3, Insightful)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327916)

In other news the pope continues to shit in the woods and bears are catholic.

You believed them when the promised? (5, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327220)

Seriously?

Re:You believed them when the promised? (5, Insightful)

internewt (640704) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327318)

Seriously?

That was exactly the kind of thing I thought!

Unfortunately the police, with the help of politicians, have thrown away any respect I may have once had for them. If the police came to my house, doing door to door enquiries, then I would not talk to them at all, and I most definitely would not invite them into my home.

The police have become servants of themselves, through the target systems that exist to gauge their performance. They do not respect the communities they police any more, and I think most police would actually laugh at you if you told them they are pubic servants.

ACAB.

At this point, if you are nasty fucking pig or a pig apologist, you set the box below to troll, overrated, offtopic, flamebait, or redundant.

Re:You believed them when the promised? (1)

MoeDumb (1108389) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327338)

Could you tell us more about these target systems? Thanks.

Re:You believed them when the promised? (5, Interesting)

internewt (640704) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327840)

Could you tell us more about these target systems? Thanks.

Hmm, there's gotta be a WP article to link to at this point, but I can't find a good 'un.

A lot of game theory was based on the idea that people are not actually altruistic. Combined with the fiefdoms that existed within the UK civil service, the government came up with the idea of creating a Free Market of rewards to measure and assess the performance of state employees.

Massively simplified, if a policeman solves a crime, he gets a point towards his next pay rise or promotion. But it appears that solving something like a rape is worth the same as solving a crime like drug possession. Considering that to solve a rape, it would require many hours of police work, getting an error free case to court, etc.. But solving a case of pot possession is as simple as
"I'm going to search you under section 44". Pat-down... "Is this your weed?"
"Yes"
"Do you accept this police caution"
"Yes"
Case closed, achievement unlocked.

The effect is that the police focus on simple (usually victimless) crimes, not ones that require actual police work!

A real world example of targets being gamed to the detriment of everyone is the target in hospitals to get the time reduced from when someone comes into an A&E department and when they are seen. What some hospitals did was to simply get a nurse to go round the waiting room and greet people. Bang, patients interacted with by medical staff, times reduced, targets hit.

The excellent films by Adam Curtis [wikimedia.org] give a lot of insight into the modern world. The films that make up The Trap [wikimedia.org] talk about targets, and some of their real world consequences.

Re:You believed them when the promised? (4, Interesting)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327938)

A real world example of targets being gamed to the detriment of everyone is the target in hospitals to get the time reduced from when someone comes into an A&E department and when they are seen. What some hospitals did was to simply get a nurse to go round the waiting room and greet people. Bang, patients interacted with by medical staff, times reduced, targets hit.

More infamously, if they slipped up and let somebody wait for longer than the target time, that person would be lucky to get attended to at all, because the hospital had lost that "point" already and so would concentrate on points that they could still earn. The UK government has largely replaced measurement as a tool of management with measurement as management, in the name of objectivity (making rewards and penalties automatic on the results of measurement, rather than the measurements triggering humans to look at what is going on). The results are not pretty.

Re:You believed them when the promised? (1)

Gandalf_Greyhame (44144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327394)

and I think most police would actually laugh at you if you told them they are pubic servants.

I think everyone would laugh at you if you told them that ;)

Re:You believed them when the promised? (1)

internewt (640704) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327866)

Sorry, it's just the state hookers who are the pubic servants![1]

Whilst joking, here's a good 'un:

Why do the police always go round in groups of 3?

One to read anything that could be useful, one to write down anything that could be useful, and one to keep an eye on the two dangerous subversives!

[1] Idea for software, probably patentable, but I am going to release it here into the public domain: spell checkers should flag words that are spelt correctly, but that could still be a typo of another valid word. Maybe underline the unknown words in red, and possible typos in orange. Perhaps the system should only flag words that could carry innuendo, like my public/pubic typo?

Re:You believed them when the promised? (4, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327340)

Just replace "don't talk to the police" [youtube.com] with "don't provide DNA/etc voluntarily to the police." You don't gain anything by talking to the police nor providing genetic evidence without a proper warrant. Different reasons same good advice.

Re:You believed them when the promised? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327584)

Something bugs me whenever someone brings up "don't talk to the police" as a general rule. (Before I go on, let me say that I'm a libertarian and, while I find that the majority of police officers are good and honorable people, no police force is worthy of blind trust and it is every citizen's duty to keep governmental power to a pragmatic minimum.) The OP said that he volunteered the DNA during a murder investigation. Perhaps the victim was someone close to him, and he had an interest in helping the investigation along as much as possible, perhaps even by volunteering evidence so as to eliminate himself as a suspect so the police could move on sooner. How does one balance an altruistic need to volunteer information to the police against the general "don't talk to the police" principle of avoiding self-incrimination?

Re:You believed them when the promised? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327778)

How does one balance an altruistic need to volunteer information to the police against the general "don't talk to the police" principle of avoiding self-incrimination?

I don't see the dilemma here. Altruism is the root of all evil. DON'T TALK TO THE POLICE.

Re:You believed them when the promised? (1)

stupid_is (716292) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327790)

I seem to remember there was a case of some sort in Liverpool a while back (possibly a particularly vicious rape) when the police went door-to-door around large parts of the town asking for DNA samples from young men to "eliminate them from enquiries". Denial was probably usually met with increased suspicion.

Re:You believed them when the promised? (5, Interesting)

thasmudyan (460603) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327946)

It doesn't really matter whether the majority of police officers are "good and honorable people" (which is probably doubtful anyway since it's a profession that attracts bullies disproportionately). What does matter is that it's their job to get you. That's right, they're out to get you. Any law professor will tell you that they are allowed to lie to you at any time, and do a couple of other things to you, just to catch you for something, preferably for the crime they're investigating. They have no incentive whatsoever to make sure they get the right guy, their only job is to get someone convicted.

Take for example this case. A guy was found stabbed in a cupboard. They had no clue who might have done it. Finally, it was decided that he actually stabbed himself and then put himself in a cupboard. You have to wonder, why did the police go around collecting DNA samples in the first place if there was no foreign DNA on the crime scene to begin with. Clearly, either DNA was collected from random people in the hope of getting them convicted for any other crime, or the final conclusion that the guy stabbed himself is another lie to make their crime solving statistics look good after months of fruitless investigation.

By the way, while the individual likelihood of being misidentified through your DNA markers as a match for one given piece of evidence is very small, your chance "matching" some completely random piece of evidence among the millions they got lying around is actually getting higher with increasing database size. So if your DNA is on file, and is routinely compared to every new piece of evidence that comes in, an individual's chance of being framed by the birthday paradox is higher than one might think.

Re:You believed them when the promised? (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327422)

He may have been naive when he did that, but if UK police force is not up to his expectations with that regard, the blame is still with the police, and that's where things should be fixed.

If you don't trust policemen in your country, same logic applies. Why do you give guns (and the discretion to use lethal force) to people who aren't trusted with much more mundane things?

Re:You believed them when the promised? (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327538)

Who says police in my country are given guns and/or the discretion to use lethal force?

Re:You believed them when the promised? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327640)

They still have a lot more power over you than a typical citizens, guns or not.

By the way, the fact that NZ policement don't carry guns normally doesn't mean that they cannot, in general. Then, of course, there are the "non-lethal" Tasers, and the good old fashioned batons.

Also, is it really much better if they can only use crippling (and only accidentally lethal) force against you?

DON'T TALK TO THE POLICE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327636)

Okay, I'm not British, so I don't know if the have something equivalent to the 5th amendment, but DON'T TALK TO THE POLICE once they start questions about you or what you were doing or anything like that. Don't justify yourself, don't argue with them, don't try to be their friends. Just STFU. And giving them DNA/fingerprints is like telling them your life story - it's not a good idea ever, voluntarily.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc [youtube.com]

Hairdressers (4, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327230)

I would think you would have more to fear from your barber and a possible black market in DNA traces, for investigative misdirection. Who else might become suspect, doctors, are hospitals removing all samples or are they being put on file as well. Even public transport might be considered an unsafe DNA dispersal risk location.

Re:Hairdressers (5, Insightful)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327282)

If you're not in the database then you won't need to fear a planted sample either. Not being in the database reduces your risk both from false positive and from planted sample ... being in the database is a pure lose/lose situation.

Re:Hairdressers (2, Insightful)

grim-one (1312413) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327572)

I don't know about you but I don't give my name and number to my barber. I also pay in cash only.

Re:Hairdressers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327684)

You missed the point.

If your DNA is on file with the police, someone could take some of your hair from a barber and leave it at the scene of a crime. Then when they compare that hair sample with their database, your name will come up.

Re:Hairdressers (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327720)

Around here, some hairdressers are so busy that you need an appointment. So you need to at least give first name.

And possibly also a number, just in case they need to call you back if they have to move your appointment for whatever reason.

Re:Hairdressers (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327908)

So you need to at least give first name.

Then make them happy. Tell them you're Tony Blair.

Re:Hairdressers (4, Interesting)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327574)

Well, presumably the police having your DNA *on file* increases the likelihood that you'll be hauled in by them for other things, should there be a spurious match (say). And regardless, if they're keeping personal information they promised not to keep then that's a serious moral issue regardless of the practical consequences - can people trust the police at their word? Should they?

Re:Hairdressers (1)

BlackBloq (702158) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327658)

The barbers hairs would have sharp cut ends like that made by scissors and no follicle. So he/she would have to pluck one or get a loose one. Walk bye plucking?

Condition for Non-Retention (4, Insightful)

kandela (835710) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327234)

Data should not be retained if the condition of obtaining it was that it would not be retained. Anything else is immoral, and should be illegal.

Freedom is a lie (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327236)

Its funny. Im a Brit living abroad in a former soviet Country for the last two years, and the more I see the more I realise how big our illusion of freedom is in the UK.

We have more Security Cameras than anyone. Our government wants to record every website, email and text number used. We are profiled beyond compare.. Even our internet private is monitored..
1984 :)

You have more chance of being free elsewhere.

Re:Freedom is a lie (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327404)

I've considered relocating to the UK, I'd be bringing jobs not taking jobs. I have to admit my two biggest concerns are the crippling taxes, everything seems to be taxed, and the feeling of being under a microscope. I love the country but those two things make relocating there a tough choice. In truth I'm not sure which one concerns me more.

Re:Freedom is a lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327612)

This is how tax on $50,000 would come down living in Connecticut:
Fed Tax: 15% (filing as head of household)
State Tax: 6%
Social Security: 7.5%
Medicare: 1.75%
Total: 30%

average income tax + national insurance in the uk: 29.8%

and the "feeling of being under a microscope" isn't as bad as the internets make it sound

Re:Freedom is a lie (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327814)

But compare our petrol (gas) taxes to those of the US. :-)

Re:Freedom is a lie (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327868)

Yeah, but compare our public transport, healthcare, welfare system, road safety, crime levels, etc with those of the US ;-)

Re:Freedom is a lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327472)

Its funny. Im a Brit living abroad in a former soviet Country for the last two years, and the more I see the more I realise how big our illusion of freedom is in the UK.

You may want to wait till that former Soviet country has the same surveillance budget as the UK, and then compare.

I'm not necessarily saying it'll be worse mind you. Some former CCCP members suffered enough that they know what they need to avoid. They have no delusions of how corruption follows unchecked power. No "it can't happen here" mentality. Yet. But give it a little longer to achieve economic parity, and get another generation away from the Troubles, and then make a fair comparison.

Re:Freedom is a lie (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327742)

I wouldn't take much comfort from the absence of security cameras. There's no need for them if the police can just beat a confession out of anyone they don't like.

Re:Freedom is a lie (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327870)

You are an idiot.

Currently we are a discussion on what rights there are around storing DNA in the UK. This will eventually find a sensible balance. It probably won't be resolved until someone has their improperly collected DNA used against them in a court. In the meantime, the issue is discussed freely in the media, Parliament, the Lords and in Europe. This is not the illusions of freedom. This is freedom in a modern, mature democracy.

If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in trouble with the police in your 'free' former Soviet country, I hope you have sufficient money / contacts to get out of trouble.

Indications of the slashdot 'freedom' idiot:

1) Wittering on about security cameras. There are two options here, either you're so much cleverer than everyone else who has failed to spot / understand the potential problems with the cameras, or everybody else knows that they are so useless that their only use is to deter chavs.

2) Quoting 1984. A book that you've obviously never read nor have the faintest idea of the contents of.

NEVER talk to the police. (4, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327238)

Watch and learn [youtube.com] .

-jcr

Re:NEVER talk to the police. (1)

Manip (656104) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327262)

This doesn't apply in the UK. If you don't tell the police a mitigating piece of evidence you cannot use it in court later.

Re:NEVER talk to the police. (3, Insightful)

Skreems (598317) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327288)

Tell it to them WHEN? If you can't wait long enough to have a lawyer present without giving up your right to mount a full legal defense, then the UK system is even more broken than the US one.

Re:NEVER talk to the police. (2, Informative)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327830)

Our American readers need to know that the UK does not have the same Miranda rights as in the US, when you are being arrested.

Specifically, a number of years ago the warnings were changed. Note the difference carefully, and see if you can see how clamming up until a lawyer gets there, might be directly harmful to your freedom.

"You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."

Now, you might think "surely that wouldn't apply to questions they asked you before your lawyer arrived". And that would make sense. But this is the UK we're talking about.

If this failure to mention something occurs at an authorised place of detention (e.g. a police station), the common law stated that no inferences could be drawn from any failure occurring before the accused is allowed an opportunity to consult a legal advisor.
But Section 34 of the 1994 Act reverses the common law position that such failures could not be relied upon.

Re:NEVER talk to the police. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327896)

However (and I speak as a recent ex-policeman from the UK), the key is "MAY harm your defence". If you can give good reason in court as to why you didn't disclose it ("I needed to speak to my solicitor first", "I didn't want my wife to find out about my affair", "I was being threatened by the bad guy") the court will take this into account and allow the evidence (or at least give due consideration to your reasoning). I will not automatically exclude the evidence (note the full stop and the word may). Of course this won't apply where you don't have a good reason (i.e. it was to cover your tracks) or if someone is harmed or a further crime committted (you don't give the info giving your acomplice time to kill the hostage and bury the body).

Re:NEVER talk to the police. (1)

rhook (943951) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327920)

And the brits act like they don't live in a police state.

Re:NEVER talk to the police. (1)

naeone (1430095) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327332)

"You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you may later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence." they only imply that they will infer your guilt due to silence, doesnt mean its true though or proper or right, but LOL you belived a police man LOL (not you strictly but OP)

Re:NEVER talk to the police. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327532)

No inferences may be drawn, however, if you were not given an opportunity to consult a solicitor prior to being questioned.

if you are questioned after charge, the caution is simply that anything you say may be used in evidence but that you do not have to say anything (as above). This is because there is no provision in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 for inferences to be drawn from silence after charge.

Re:NEVER talk to the police. (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327598)

doesnt mean its true though or proper or right, but LOL you belived a police man LOL (not you strictly but OP)

Are you 14 or something? This is slashdot, home of geeks between 20 and 70. Could you please turn up the spelling knob?

Re:NEVER talk to the police. (2, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327400)

This doesn't apply in the UK.

Yes, it does. Even in the UK, you have the right to remain silent.

-jcr

Re:NEVER talk to the police. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327550)

Yes, it's amazing how many experts on the UK there are, most of whom have never been there and couldn't even point to it on a map.

Care to take a guess what country he's from?

Re:NEVER talk to the police. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327910)

Yes, it does. Even in the UK, you have the right to remain silent.
But unlike in the US it is not a defense and is normally interpreted by officers as an admittance of guilt. Not mentioning something is just as dangerous as mentioning something in court, unless you've got an alibi if you don't mention something at the moment it'll be disregarded later, basically if you don't say you were somewhere they'll decide where you were and unless you've got an alibi in court your where THEY decide.

In my dealings with police I find the best response is to agree with them as much as possible without actually saying anything. Eg "We're searching you because this is a suspicious area, why are you here?" "This is a suspicious area, I'm often concerned walking here at night but this type of regular policing should help" and end sentence, dont make another noise until you've been given another question. The officers mental response should be something like "WTF? He's supposed to be suspicious?!? Not like a politician?!? This is so weird!! Wait, what was I doing?".

Re:NEVER talk to the police. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327412)

You can. The problem is that the jury is allowed to draw conclusions from the fact that you didn't mention it.

Re:NEVER talk to the police. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327674)

No no no! Let's clear this up once and for all. IANAL but I am a English officer of the law. A PACE caution says "1) You do not have to say anything, 2) but it may harm your defence if you do not mention something that you later rely on in court. 3) Anything you do say may be given in evidence".

In relation to the three points, this means:

1) Exactly what it means. You don't have to say anything. BUT...
2) If you choose not to answer questions during police interviews but later provide answer to the same the questions in court, a judge can direct a jury to consider whether they think you were lying (eg so you have time to make up an answer). A jury are not allowed to do this unless a judge directs them to, which will normally follow legal arguments.
3) Anything you disclose can be brought up in court proceedings.

That's all. There also exists another provision called a Special Warning which can be used under certain limited circumstances. If this happens, you MUST be advised you are being given a special warning and de-warned when questions relating to the topic that the Warning relate to are complete. The difference is that the Police must specifically record that the Warning was given and it is brought to the Judge's attention. Most police don't realise they have these provisions and they are rarely used.

Re:NEVER talk to the police. (2, Interesting)

squizzar (1031726) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327786)

So as I understand it - from what I thought was 'if you do not mention when questioned something that you later rely on in court' you should make sure that you mention in a police interview anything that you may wish to mention in court. Am I right in presuming that you are entitled to a solicitor during a police interview?

Wikipedia seems to back this up - "Adverse inferences may be drawn in certain circumstances where before or on being charged, the accused fails to mention a specific fact which he later relies upon and which in the circumstances at the time the accused could reasonably be expected to mention. If this failure occurs at an authorised place of detention (e.g. a police station), no inferences can be drawn from any failure occurring before the accused is allowed an opportunity to consult a legal advisor. Section 34 of the 1994 reverses the common law position that such failures could not be relied upon." - so basically there should be no prejudice if you don't answer or state anything until you have a lawyer present, but if you decide to mention it in court having not mentioned it during police questioning then the jury may infer that there was some reason or motive for you not mentioning it earlier

To be fair this seems pretty reasonable. However if I get arrested I will not be answering any questions until a solicitor is present. A friend of mine was arrested, and was treated respectfully by the police, assured that answering questions now would make everything easier later etc. etc. and then when he came to court all his statements are read out by the officers, out of context and with their 'interpretation' of his meaning, needless to say not to his benefit. Hardly seems like the reasonable actions they promised. In the unlikely event that I get arrested I will not be answering anything until I have some legal advice present, since it seems that without such advice the treatment received by someone who does not know the 'system' from the police is somewhat unfair.

I have a lot of respect for the police and the job they do, however it is eroded by behaviour such as this, which attempts to take essentially law abiding and honest people to the cleaners because they don't know how to get away with things unlike the chavs who are in the nick every week and know every trick to make life difficult for the police

Re:NEVER talk to the police. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327940)

So as I understand it - from what I thought was 'if you do not mention when questioned something that you later rely on in court' you should make sure that you mention in a police interview anything that you may wish to mention in court. Am I right in presuming that you are entitled to a solicitor during a police interview?

There isn't actually an official caution, so you do see local variations. But to answer your questions yes and no in that order. They aren't necessarily qualified solicitors but are qualified legal advisors. By "mention" it does not have to be verbal - quite often a prisoner and their legal rep will chat in private (another guaranteed right) and prepare a written statement but then not answer any further questions. The legal advisor will ensure the prisoner is not questioned inappropriately (ie between tapes), and they also act as a separate witness to the sealing of interview tapes so they cannot be tampered with. Typically, the legal advisor and police officers will discuss the matters of the case prior to the legal advisor speaking to the prisoner, so they can advise them appropriately (eg whether there is no harm in being candid or whether they should not answer particular questions until further enquiries are complete or particular evidence is obtained).

Following that, a separate CPS lawyer reviews evidence and they not the police make a decision to charge the prisoner with a specific offence. The danger in not answering questions is that if there is sufficient evidence to charge someone at that point (bearing in mind they prisoner cannot be questioned further) and it is a serious offence, you could get remanded in custody pending your first court appearance. If you are candid and provide the police with information, they are duty-bound to go and follow it up. There is more likelihood that you are then given police bail to return to the police at a later date for further questioning.

A lot of old-school coppers berate PACE saying it favours the criminal, but actually it drastically reduces the chances for miscarriages of justice because it guarantees the criminal/prisoner an opportunity to have their say and an opportunity to have or take legal advice any time whilst they are in custody, the benefit of which is that it is also explained to the prisoner on tape. Just remember that it's nothing like what you see on The Bill ;o)

PACE also makes it harder for a prisoner to be abused or coerced (unlike the pre-PACE days) because their detention is authorised by a Custody Sergeant and reviewed every 4 hours by a police Inspector, so it would require large-scale abuse of power or authority to carry out.

Re:NEVER talk to the police. (5, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327892)

UK citizens: Ignore the advice in this video. It is accurate for the US legal system, not the UK legal system.

I've watched the whole thing before, and there are so many items in the video that simply do not apply that the whole thing should be ignored. Hell, the very first frame you see is regarding the Fifth Amendment: We don't have a constitution.

Do you want advice on how to deal with the police in the UK? Go to Citizen's Advice. The internet has some basics, but they're not comprehensive.
Do you want instructions on how to handle arrest? That's easy: Comply. Do nothing to resist. Listen to everything that is said. As soon as you're arrested, say nothing about the reason for your arrest. Not "I didn't do it!" not "It was that guy!" There will be time for this later, after you've spoken to a solicitor.

Confirm personal details at the station, nothing more, and when asked state politely but firmly that you can not answer any questions regarding your arrest or enter an interview room until you have spoken to a professional legal representative. It's because you've not done this before, and want everything to be done right. Law is complex. Late at night (if required) this might be a phone call, but you can still request a solicitor to attend in person. Usually this will be the next day, which is good. Try and get some sleep; You can't go anywhere or do anything, and talking to anyone is a bad idea.

IANAL, IANYL, this is not legal advice etc.

Not you friend. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327242)

You must understand despite what you have been led to believe the police are not your friend. They are a necessary evil. Never trust them or allow them into your home without a warrant. Limit your responses to them simple yes or no if you are forced to talk with them.

A policeman's job is to arrest people and put them in jail. They understand this quite well. You must as well.

You did trust any UK governmental personel? (1, Troll)

garry_g (106621) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327348)

Sorry, but at the way the UK (as well as other countries around the globe) are evolving way beyond Orwell's '84, you didn't really believe them, did you? Honestly?

hi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327360)

www.niels-stensen-gymnasium.de

govts in disintegration; remember the Duke case (4, Insightful)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327372)

The local district attorney on the Duke rape sat on clear, exonerating DNA evidence that the psycho stripper erred or lied. They had 6 or 7 DNA samples from her (and underwear) that failed to match any DNA of the falsely charged Duke kids. Ooops, wrong team!

So why bother with the free DNA?

Of course, the police and DA everywhere else will cluck their tongues and say this never could happen at their place. Today, only a fool considers government and corporate reps as anything but potentially dangerous adversaries, and their promises as anything more valuable than glib promises printed on second hand toilet paper.

I invite police officers into my home every week (1)

zx2c4 (716139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327392)

...for a nice game of fingerprint practice... "In 2008 I invited two policemen into my home and voluntarily gave them a DNA and fingerprint sample" I believe, good sir, that your problem begins there.

Do not cooperate with the police (3, Interesting)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327424)

Seriously, do not ever again help the police. Sure, follow their instructions when within the law. But helping the police does not help YOU at all and might seriously endanger yourself. If the samples were contaminated or mixed up, you could have found yourself in jail.

Watch the presentations by Professor James Duane of Stanford University:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=NL&v=i8z7NC5sgik [youtube.com]

Re:Do not cooperate with the police (2, Interesting)

Great Big Bird (1751616) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327452)

Police come to your door due to a missing little girl they are looking for. They want to ask you if you have seen her. Do you deny any answer to the police or simply answer their question with a "no"?

Re:Do not cooperate with the police (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327554)

The tragic part is that the policy have expanded their powers so much that not answering any questions is the safer course.

Re:Do not cooperate with the police (2, Insightful)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327566)

That is a laughably simplistic question.

It would be much more like:
LEO: "Have you seen this little girl?"
You: "No".
LEO: "Where were you around this and that time?"
You: "Alone, here in the house."
LEO: "Can anybody confirm that?"
You: ...

Do you see what I mean? What looks like a simple question, could actually turn into an unpleasant conversation of which your lawyer would tell you to stop explaining yourself.

Re:Do not cooperate with the police (2, Interesting)

choco (36913) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327624)

It's a good question. There are several ways of looking at it. For example:

The "missing little Girl" is your daughter. The Police are knocking on your neighbour's doors. You now have to face the fact that some of your neighbours might be finding it hard to offer the Police complete support - at least partly because the Police have previously acted in ways which reduced the public's confidence in the Police.

How do you feel ? Who do you blame ?

I would much prefer to live in a society where "Policing by Consent" still means something. Policing by consent is in the overwhelming interest of all law abiding people.

One requirement for "Policing by Consent" is that the Police understand and support their side of the bargain. Another requirement is that the legal system and government maintains a certain level of basic confidence and support. I believe the UK currently has some serious problems with all those things and we are all worse off because of it.

Re:Do not cooperate with the police (2, Interesting)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327750)

It's a good question. There are several ways of looking at it/p>

There's still another way of looking at it. You don't have to talk to the police to be helpful. You could instead just help your neighbors directly.

When will people learn... (2, Informative)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327446)

The police in an investigation can and will only ever help the prosecution. They are not going to help the defense of anyone. The only person who will do that is you and your lawyer. Even if you have proof that you were not the person, if the local DA or Magistrate or whatever it is in your country decides to have charges brought against you, whatever you said, did, provided, etc., will be used against you. Even if you are simply saying something like that you were not in the area at that time, you don't know if the police already have a witness that said they saw you, and as such, unless you have real "proof", you are simply "lying", and thus they will think even more so that you are the guilty party. I know people think that they should "help" the police in many of these cases, but the best thing you can do is say, "I am sorry, but I will not talk to you without a lawyer", and leave it at that. All you can do is get yourself in trouble.

WAIVE NOTHING..EVER..EVER!! (4, Informative)

fred911 (83970) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327448)

If you talk to the police without consul, during an investigation you have waived your rights and demonstrated to the police that you are an idiot, not honest or friendly. They are not your friends. The do not have to tell you the truth. When asked to waive my rights by an officer of the law I respectfully tell them that I am unable to waive them without the advice of an attorney. That pisses them off and they usually start threatening warrants and other harassment.

  "With respect for your position sir, I respectfully decline any more communication without an attorney present, and understand you have a job to do, please proceed with what you have to do. Am I under arrest or are you detaining me? If so please provide consul. If not have a nice day!"

Re:WAIVE NOTHING..EVER..EVER!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327516)

> they usually start threatening warrants and other harassment.

Usually? Jesus Christ - how often are you in contact with the police?

Re:WAIVE NOTHING..EVER..EVER!! (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327710)

From the tone of his post I'd say very frequently.

Re:WAIVE NOTHING..EVER..EVER!! (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327626)

If you talk to the police without consul, (...) If so please provide consul. If not have a nice day!

It may be because of your insistance to have a Consul [wikipedia.org] present rather than Counsel [wikipedia.org] . Then again, if you don't know the difference not talking without one is most wise.

Re:WAIVE NOTHING..EVER..EVER!! (4, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327638)

If you talk to the police without consul, during an investigation you have waived your rights and demonstrated to the police that you are an idiot, not honest or friendly.

Bullshit. You just make it harder for them to do their job. Sure there are cops who are crooks, or just jerks, but if you presume that they all are then you are no better than your make-believe stereotypical policeman. Have a think about which dark corner of society would benefit if everyone starts being hostile towards the police.

We had a policeman knock on our door a while back. There was a grassfire a few km down the road and a car vaguely fitting the description of our car parked in our driveway was seen leaving the scene. By the time he knocked on our door I assumed he had already put his hand on the bonnet etc to see if had been driven recently, and he even told us that our car didn't really match the description after all. We chatted for a while and he left. If i'd had behaved like a prick like you suggest what would it have gained me?

I can only begin to guess at what a horrible job it must be most of the time. You'd see the worst of people every day. You'd have to knock on doors at 3am and tell parents that they have one less living child. Every time you pull someone over you know that there is a slim chance that someone's going to pull a shotgun on you. And if you make it hard for them to do their job then the only people left doing the job are the ones who don't take your sort of shit lightly.

Hopefully if you ever need the assistance of the police, you won't run into one that you've pissed off along the way.

Re:WAIVE NOTHING..EVER..EVER!! (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327690)

Bullshit. You just make it harder for them to do their job.

The only time the police have an easy job is in a police state.

If you're not a criminal, victim or witness then you have no reason to talk to the police about a crime, and if you are a criminal then you have no reason to talk to the police without a lawyer. So there are very, very few cases where talking to the police is actually beneficial, and many where it's going to get you in a world of hurt... even police themselves will admit that.

Remember, these are the people who recently shot an innocent guy in the head eight times for 'suspicion of looking a bit muslim' and walked away with no consequences. Britain is rapidly approaching a police state if it isn't already there, which is precisely why I left a couple of years ago.

Re:WAIVE NOTHING..EVER..EVER!! (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327774)

You've got a couple of weird points and I'd like to reply since you normally have very good posts.

I can only begin to guess at what a horrible job it must be most of the time.

Well, they like their job. What a strange thing to assume they hate their job, and you feel like offering them some relief of their horrible job.

And if you make it hard for them to do their job then the only people left doing the job are the ones who don't take your sort of shit lightly.

Are you sure you're making it harder? He already touched the hood. He still wants to talk to you for some reason you don't know. What is your reason for talking to the officer?

Re:WAIVE NOTHING..EVER..EVER!! (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327804)

He already touched the hood. He still wants to talk to you for some reason you don't know.

EXACTLY my thoughts. Either the cop was fishing or he was time-wasting. That story really does nothing to bolster his argument. It's like saying, "I walked by a snake once and it didn't bite me, so clearly there is no need to worry about snake bites."

Re:WAIVE NOTHING..EVER..EVER!! (2, Interesting)

squizzar (1031726) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327844)

I think that some judgement is necessary. The UK police are driven entirely by targets (rather than the interest of the community) which means that they are desperate for arrests. If you are arrested for something then being a reasonable person, 'helping them out', 'making it easier for yourself' etc. (e.g. answering questions or making statements in the absence of legal counsel) is a way of them shoring up their case against you without some pesky lawyer stopping you from incriminating yourself.

Contrast this with people who have regular dealings with the police, and know the system and how to minimise what the police can do to them. In an ideal world some common sense would be used (and apparently was once) and someone who has otherwise been an upstanding member of the community would not have the book thrown at them by the police, whilst someone who was a regular trouble maker would have a more determined effort to seek prosecution made. This is not the case, and if you are cooperative etc. that just means that you are making it easier for them to add a couple of other charges.

Obviously if you have done nothing wrong (as the poster above) then help them out because they know a waste of time when they see it, and they've got those damn targets to meet. But if you have done something, then it really is in your best interests to make sure that you only get prosecuted for what you have actually done, not for what you somehow admitted to when you were helpfully answering questions. It's like the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance. One is legal and nigh on encouraged, the other isn't. Like tax, if a prosecution is inevitable, that doesn't mean you're going to go out and look for as much of it as possible does it?

It is a shame that this is the state of affairs, but the police are not around to use common sense these days. I have friends who are police officers, who have been told that 'we've solved enough rape cases this month, we need to catch up on shoplifters'. Because that's what the community they would serve wants - numbers that add up - not for perhaps some violent sexual assailant to be jailed, but for some kids who stole some sweets to be put through the grinder.

Re:WAIVE NOTHING..EVER..EVER!! (1)

fred911 (83970) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327936)

Have a think about which dark corner of society would benefit if everyone starts being hostile towards the police.

  I didn't say to be hostile. Be extra, extra polite but don't waive your rights. Don't answer questions, don't authorize searches, don't listen to their threats, ask if you are under arrest or are being detained.

  Respond with "Good day Officer" or "Officer unfortunately I am unable to assist you further without my counsel, thank you for understanding."

European Court Ruling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327468)

Is this not relevant

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7764069.stm

?

Quote from the link:

The judges ruled the retention of the men's DNA "failed to strike a fair balance between
the competing public and private interests," and that the UK government "had overstepped
any acceptable margin of appreciation in this regard". The court also ruled "the retention in
question constituted a disproportionate interference with the applicants' right to respect for
private life and could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society".

I'm sure there has been other similar cases as well.

I think the coppers are bluffing. Push them and see what happens.

its on record till your 100th birthday (4, Informative)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327482)

Unfortunately the Police are under no obligation to remove the DNA from the database until your 100th birthday I've read through the regulations they work under. In the appendix there are form letters for the chief constable to tell you that your dna can not be removed, there is no example of a letter saying it can.

In the UK the police retain records of everyone even if you have never been arrested or charged with anything it is enough to be associated with someone with a criminal record for this to be recorded on your record. I believe they refer to these as non arrestable offenses. I say your record but its the polices record of you. Over time the Police are not forced to share what they have on you with other agencies but everything is kept on record for their use and they do have the option of clearing your record once you reach the age of 100.

Of course your Dna will not only identify you but close matches may suggest a brother or a son or other close relative may be worth investigating. There is no political will from either of the main parties to curb the current legislation they have both contributed to it. So you either live with it or leave and hope that there is no worldwide database created in your lifetime.

Rule number one where ever you are don't get involved with the Police if you can possibly avoid it.

http://www.genewatch.org/sub-539482 [genewatch.org]
http://www.runnymedetrust.org/events-conferences/econferences/ethnic-profiling-in-uk-law-enforcement/the-report/the-national-dna-database/the-national-dna-database-2.html [runnymedetrust.org]

The second link spells it out for you using big letters and crayon, yes you are on record and for all practical meanings of for the rest of your life.

The European Court of Human Rights

In December 2008, in the case of S. and Marper v. the UK, the Grand Chamber of European Court of Human Rights reached a unanimous judgment that the blanket retention of innocent people's DNA and fingerprints by the UK Government contravenes Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to privacy).

At the time of writing, the Government has yet to implement a response to the judgment. Its initial proposals to retain DNA records from innocent people for 6 or 12 years, depending on the offence for which they were arrested, were widely criticised. They have been replaced with an alternative 6 year retention time for innocent adults (3 years for under-16s), in the Crime and Security Bill 2009/10. However, both opposition parties regard these proposals as unacceptable.. The Government has also made a welcome proposal to destroy the original DNA samples (biological samples), which are currently stored by the commercial laboratories which analyse them, and which contain unlimited genetic information which is not needed for identification purposes.

I guess that this judgment may change things but currently there is no change and it will remain that way until compelled to change. note the opposition fighting against the change it can be viewed as because the proposals are still draconian or more cynically to block any change in the current status quo.

Unless legislation does go through and so far it hasn't then any plea to the chief constable to get the dna record removed due to exceptional circumstances will fall on deaf ears because after all being innocent of any crime is hardly exceptional in that database.

Voluntarily, huh? (0, Flamebait)

MasterPatricko (1414887) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327484)

I invited two policemen into my home and voluntarily gave them a DNA and fingerprint sample

There's support groups for this kind of thing, don't keep it hidden all your life.

you guys should have rtfa this time. It was good. (1)

delvsional (745684) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327506)

According to tfa:

One of my parents' neighbours was found in a cupboard with a ~2 foot barbecue skewer stabbed through his chest. He'd been there for three days and was close to death.

but the police eventually ruled:

that he had accidentally stabbed himself with the skewer, and the investigation was closed.

Jesus, did he shoot himself in the head twice too? How in the hell do you accidentally stab yourself in the chest with a 2 foot barbecue skewer and then stuff yourself into a cupboard?

On another note, they asked "We can destroy your samples after the investigation, or we can keep them on the database so we can use them again in future." and you said "pretty much", that kind of leaves it open to interpretation doesn't it?

How can someone be so stupid... (1)

mxh83 (1607017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327586)

.. and then come here and post on slashdot? It's like telling a stranger- Here's my bank account and credit card details, along with all my passwords. I trust you completely. Another thing one must never do is give out personal passwords (like email, facebook) to a spouse. No good can ever come of it.

It's unfortunate, but (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327618)

the police, the government, the powers that be in the UK have proven themselves time and time again to be completely untrustworthy.

Equally unfortunate is the British propensity to grit their teeth and bear it, (because they love to complain about something) rather than do something constructive to change their situation while they still can.

Why to never talk to the police... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327678)

Never talk to the police. Important link follows:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

Don't give a Sample (5, Insightful)

missileman (1101691) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327716)

How the hell could it "help with a murder investigation" to provide them with a sample of your DNA?

Presuming you are innocent, you are simply opening yourself up to a false positive match, either now or in sometime in the future.

You have everything to lose, and nothing whatsoever to gain.

In the case of a degraded DNA sample, it's possible to have the statical odds of you being a match for a sample in the range of 100,000 to 1. That doesn't seem so bad unless you consider that there might be 1,000,000 records on file. Statistically that's 10 database hits, and if you are the lucky one cold hit, combined with the apparent belief that juries find scientific evidence infallible, you could easily be convicted. It *has* happened before that the only evidence that links a suspect to a crime is a cold database hit.

Just don't give them a sample without a court order, ever.

 

Re:Don't give a Sample (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327748)

How the hell could it "help with a murder investigation" to provide them with a sample of your DNA?

Easy, the murder just hasn't happened yet.

ref no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327728)

And when you do genuinely need the police's help. They just give you a reference number!

Re:ref no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327846)

Oh I know the thing. My stalking ex-gf called the police with the mention I had a druglab in my studio.

Ofcourse, the guys seemed excited to roll up a druglap and were a bit surpriced to meet me... Some geeky guy preparing for giving a presentation at a university.

I did let them inside, waiving my rights unknowingly and had some shrooms and confessed possession "it's for own use, and sometimes helps me find insight. I have nothing to hide for you guys, but a druglab, you must be joking...". After confiscation, the cops had to do "internet research" to validate they were actually shrooms but all they had was a printout of feable dried up mushrooms. Pathetic really. They hoped they could roll up a druglab or something, as they kept asking me where I got them, but seemed dissapointed they came from the Netherlands so they couldn't get some action busting evil dealers or whatever.
After my statement, they asked me "why would she tell us you'd have a druglab?" (after searching the entire premise of my landlord, motivating the search with a mention "I smell weed, do you too, colleague?" to which he commenced searching, ofcourse I live in a student block, and by the mention "if you find anything it wont be mine, as it's public property and all the students have access to this", they stopped searching.)

So, after I mentioned I'm being furiously stalked, showed about 700 textmessage (while 30 received during my interrogation because she wanted to get a reaction of her brilliant act) they told me to file a complaint.

so I did, they never could do anything, yet each confrontation I was painted off as the "agressor", because in stalking-cases it's more often males and she used to be an attractive young girl who can magically draw tears to her own command. Ofcourse that helps in charming two "heros", right?

Result: 5 phonenumbers later, moving, and having nearly everyone harrest that's remotely connected to me, the police hasn't done anything. Had a fine of 300 because of "possession of illegal substances" and she walks free, still terrorizing me whenever she finds a way to reach to me, and has been doing so for over 3 years straight.

tl;dr: don't trust police, they wont do anything, only monitor and register "events", but wont help you.

British police (4, Insightful)

dugeen (1224138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327762)

One good thing about the New Labour gleichshaltung is that British people have largely lost the trust in the police that they used to have. The way the police have behaved over DNA, and over the Stockwell killing, and the way they've treated anti-war demonstrators, have all had their effect. As Joe Orton pointed out, it's a far healthier society when people have a proper wariness of the police.

Monty Python (1)

caywen (942955) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327782)

Pity - Monty Python would have had a field day with this.

Of course you were under suspicion! (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327824)

In 2008 I invited two policemen into my home and voluntarily gave them a DNA and fingerprint sample to help with a murder investigation, as they'd promised it would only be used for that investigation. I was never under any suspicion...

Of course you were under suspicion - they just didn't have enough evidence to get a warrant to force you to give up your DNA so they bamboozled you into doing it voluntarily. Of course they kept it on file, they were suspicous enough of you to request a DNA sample thus you are under permanent suspicion for the rest of your life and probably a ways beyond.

What you did was the equivalent of getting pulled over by a cop and when he looks in your car window and doesn't see anything to justify a search , instead of letting you go on your way, he asks you if he can go ahead and search your car anyway and you said yes.

UK Police are driven by targets (3, Informative)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327838)

C'mon, this is the UK police we're talking about: nowadays they're driven by targets that come from the politicians and directly influence their bonuses and career prospects.

Targets have been set by the highest level of government to collect and keep as many DNA samples as possible for the DNA Database, so Bonuses and Promotions are at stake here. They don't give a damn about the citizens they are supposed to serve except as means to reach their targets, so they would tell you whatever you wanted to hear to get another point on their DNA samples target.

Count yourself lucky though: people's lifes have been ruined when they got "Cautions" (an admission of guilt, which requires no court involvement and goes into the Criminal Record) for being drunken and rowdy or for (lightly) discipling their own kids.

I've lived in 3 European countries by now and this is the only one where I don't trust the police (which is kinda sad since I'm from Portugal, a country where people look up to the UK as a better place)

Not that I blame the lowly copper: at the core of the current rot are the power hungry politicians and money driven high-level officers.

I guess that people are getting what they deserve around here: the British electorate keeps voting on the same two sets of visibly lying, deceitfull, sleazy and two-faced politicians (or not voting at all) - these guys are so exceptionally untrustworthy (at least compared with Dutch and Portuguese politicians) that they are caught cheating and lying so often it's not fun anymore.

voluntarily gave them a DNA and fingerprint sample (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31327874)

Why would you do that? You know that you didn't do it, don't you? You could save them the price of analyzing your DNA by not giving a sample, and apparently there are other benefits of not participating in mass screenings...

Don't Talk To The Police (5, Insightful)

rhook (943951) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327890)

Seriously, nothing good ever comes from talking to the police or giving them anything that they don't have a warrant or court order for. Police are also allowed to lie, however if you lie to them you're guilty of a crime.
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