Well, this is interesting.
A million or so people on the DNA database who have not committed any offence. Only 377 deletions in 2009. Bloody shameful.
The police can arrest you, take you to the station, fingerprint you, photograph you, take a sample of your DNA, decide they didn't need to arrest you after all, release you, send you on your merry way, and then retain all the photos, fingerprints and DNA samples for 12 years if they arrested you for a serious enough offence.
Then, unless you can make a compelling case to the relevant Chief Constable that the records ought to be deleted, you remain on the database. If you ever encounter another police officer, and they check up on you, there you are.
According to a police officer of my acquaintance, they won't look at your record and assume you were wrongly arrested, and that's how you ended up on the database. No. They will look at your record and assume that you got away with it last time, and then arrest you again.
Because, clearly, you are a criminal. Well, you must be, you're on the database.
Innocent until proven guilty? Hardly.
I know the police have a bloody awful job. That it's dangerous, frightening, tiresome, stressful, complicated, depressing, soul-destroying. I know all that. I wouldn't do their job for ten times what I am currently paid. And I know that the law, and the officers of the law are probably all that stands between civilised society and terrifying violent anarchy. More so in some places than others. I know that.
I just think they need to be a bit more careful about who they arrest, and why. And that they should offer to delete the records immediately and with a good grace when they release people without charge.
It might save a few lawsuits. It might have saved that poor bastard in the news report's life.
Welcome to the future. Every bit as scary and dystopian as I thought it might be.