Monday, March 17, 2008

It is now a crime to be a poor child

There was a lot of concern yesterday about the Observer's front page story.

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:

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.

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.

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.


Anonymous said...

If you would like to contribute to tackling family breakdown please support our petition to the Prime Minister at, more details are here

Anonymous said...

If this government is so concerned about reducing crime then why does it not use the methods which it's own figures and reports have proven ACTUALLY WORK?

Like having the police target the thugs and yobs ruining decent people's lives - longer jail sentences - more police on the street?

These are policies which have been shown, time and again, do actually work - so why doesn't the government implement them?

Because New Labour cares NOTHING about you, your children OR your family!

All they care about is getting more and more people on their lunatic databases and they will use any excuse or lie to do so!