27 November 2006

A Future Danger

Criminal profilers are drawing up a list of the 100 most dangerous murderers and rapists of the future even before they commit such crimes, The Times has learnt.

The highly controversial database will be used by police and other agencies to target suspects before they can carry out a serious offence. Pilot projects to identify the highest-risk future offenders have been operating in five London boroughs for the past two months.

At the moment:

Experts from the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide Prevention Unit are creating psychological profiles of likely offenders to predict patterns of criminal behaviour.

But, as everyone knows, psychology is something of a hit-and-miss business, and not really reliable enough or scalable enough for rolling out across a nation. What we really need is something more precise, something more scientific - like a genetic pre-disposition encoded in the genome.

Some people claim to have found certain genomic characteristics of those who commit major crimes; the obvious step would be to screen people's genomes automatically for those genetic elements before they committed the crime they were hardwired to perpetrate, sparing society many problems and expenses.

Since the proof would be scientific, and not merely based on the fallible judgment of a psychologist, the guilty would have no basis to appeal against the sentences imposed upon them. Indeed, even more money could be saved by simply refusing to allow what would be unnecessary appeals in such cases, where the proof of future guilt could be found in nearly every cell of their body.

How fortunate, then, that the UK has the largest DNA database in the world....

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