CCTV and DNA – A final word

GE 2010 I would really like to move away from the government's approach to CCTV and DNA, but things like this (from the Daily Mirror)…

Women will be more at risk on the streets under the Tories, Home Secretary Alan Johnson warned last night. He said attacks on women would be more likely as the Conservatives were not committed to funding CCTV and wanted to ditch suspects' DNA

…just keep provoking me (as do some of the conclusions reached by the BBC's 'Reality Check' – which manages to imply that keeping innocent people on the DNA database is a useful tool); so I wanted to have one last word – based entirely around official, unarguable, statistics.

Firstly, on DNA evidence (from the Daily Mail):

Home Office research shows that – despite the massive expansion in the Government database – only 3,666 crimes are detected every year with links to an existing DNA profile.

That is one in every 1,300 of the 4.9million crimes carried out, and just one in 350, or 0.3 per cent, of the 1.3million crimes solved by police, according to the home affairs select committee.

The figure included crimes where the DNA was taken from a suspect the police were already questioning, then matched to the crime scene.

Crimes that a suspect asked to be taken into consideration were also included, even though only the first offence may have involved DNA.

Secondly, on CCTV evidence (from the Evening Standard):

Metropolitan Police figures show a 71 per cent drop in the number of crimes "in which CCTV was involved" from 416,000 in 2003-04 to 121,770 in 2008-09. The number of these crimes which led to a charge, summons or caution fell from 47,000 to 23,000.

The proportion of all crimes solved using CCTV in London fell from half in 2003-04 to one in seven in 2008-09.

A report by a House of Lords committee last year found that an estimated £200 million has been spent on new cameras in London in the 10 years up until 2006.

This is not party-political, it is just trying to counter Alan Johnson's scaremongering, lying tactics on DNA and CCTV. The Conservatives, Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid…almost every other party standing for election have committed to regulating surveillance and removing innocent people from the NDNA database. But the government just won't admit they are wrong in their rush to appear 'tough on crime'.

I hope, this is the final word…

By Dylan Sharpe