It involved a suggestion by Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard and the new DNA spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), that children as young as 5 should be put on the national DNA database because of their family background.
For comment on this see Spy Blog and Action on Rights for Children.
But there was another story in the Observer which was just as worrying:
The trouble with the New Labour concept of "antisocial behaviour" is that it lumps together all sorts of different things. In this case drug use, which is a crime, is being bundled up with family breakdown, which is a misfortune for which the child bears no responsibility.
Children as young as 10 will face compulsory programmes to tackle drug use and other offences under government plans to overhaul the Asbo system, which will be unveiled this week by Ed Balls, the Children's Secretary.
Up to 1,000 teenagers considered at risk of criminality because of truancy, drug use, family breakdown or other warning signs will be put into so-called family intervention projects. They will be required to sign a contract governing their behaviour and accept help such as drug treatment. Refusal to co-operate will leave the teenager open to an Asbo.
It may be that these "family intervention projects" are admirable schemes, but it is extraordinary that a child can be threatened with an Asbo for declining to take part in them. Failure to comply with the terms of an Asbo can lead to a custodial sentence even when any offences committed are trivial.
So do not just worry about the Philip K. Dick world Gary Pugh's proposal might lead to. We are living in something like it already.