Naughty Children to Be Registered as Potential Criminals in the UK
November 26, 2001 3:06 AM   Subscribe

Naughty Children to Be Registered as Potential Criminals in the UK UK police are to set up a secret database of children as young as three who they fear might grow up to become criminals. What next, DNA testing on embryos to find out if they have a genetic leaning towards criminal behaviour? Link courtesy of Backwash.
posted by Jubey (14 comments total)
and it would be led by a blair...... this stinks of fascism. the decline of britain, and it's civil liberties is listed in this weblog

i'm so happy ive moved from the uk to belgium...
posted by quarsan at 3:20 AM on November 26, 2001

not really such a secret dbase if its out in the open -

Anway what crimes are three year olds able to commit that will get them put on this dabse. If anything its probably based on the parents criminal records and this dbase is being used as a way of keeping an eye on them and who they belong to, seems a bit of a young age to start keeping tabs
posted by monkeyJuice at 3:34 AM on November 26, 2001

So they'll be labelled as criminals from an early age. Wonder what'll happen when they grow up.
posted by Summer at 3:44 AM on November 26, 2001

Blair and Bush have been spending too much time together.

I wonder what it will take to get a record? Will people be able to report the kid next door and get him added to the database? "That boy was rotten to our little Fred. He'll grow up to be no good." -- and the next thing you know, the boy's got record.
posted by pracowity at 3:59 AM on November 26, 2001

I think "secret" means you can't access it yourself (the original report uses "confidential").

What a pile of shite this country is turning into. Did you also hear on the news today that the number of female prisoners is growing so rapidly they're having to convert a male prison? And that it's being left to the frigging Lords to try and make some kind of rebellion against the "indefinite detention of foreigners" clause in the anti-terrorism bill?

Why is "society" such a mess? You could argue that we've gone too far down the American path of small state, but that's brought us a fair amount of wealth, and small state needn't be bad. For example, I was watching an Italian film a few weeks ago about Sicilly and the state hardly exists, but other structures (and not just the Mafia) provide support. In comparison, here we have neither a supportive state nor a cohesive society. Is it simply that wealth breaks up social cohesion? Must a wealthy society necessarily spend more money on social structure (is this what rich Continental European states do?). Or is it just perception and really we just don't realise we've never had it so good?

Interesting aside: the FPP merges nurture (this db is driven by inner city London forces, according to the article) and nature (comments on DNA) - was that intentional (it makes sense) or just some knee-jerk reaction that automatically lumps DNA in with anything fascist? I ask because imho (and the article's viewpoint, I think) is that entry on this db this is really about environment and upbringing, which is as far removed from DNA as possible.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:16 AM on November 26, 2001

He admitted: "This is pretty revolutionary stuff. There will be lots of worries but as long as it is understood that the purpose of holding this information is to ensure that we should collectively intervene to prevent children from becoming criminal I think that it will be accepted."

This quotation reveals a critical fallacy made by people who propose and support this kind of action: namely, that a policy can be justified/evaluated on its purpose rather than on its behavior. Regardless of why you want to create a database like this, what's important is that the database is being created. That, in and of itself, is the problem.

I guess what I am saying is that the ideals, stated purposes, goals, etc., of proposed policy must be IGNORED. All that matters is the behavior. It really doesn't matter if the US FBI has the purpose of rooting out terrorists; if their behavior is the unwarranted raiding of private homes, then they're violating the constitution regardless of "purpose." [this is just a hypothetical example, I am not referring to any actual events].

As a PR move, sure it works to focus on purpose and intent. It's the old magic trick of misdirection. While it would be best if we the people weren't so gullible as a group, it is still reasonable to expect our elected and appointed government servants to serve our interests better than this.

Chalk it up as another item on the list of grievances that will be largely ignored, and as another knife in the back of Western liberty.

Oh - and expect more of the same, across Europe and in the US. It's going to get worse before more people care.
posted by yesster at 6:36 AM on November 26, 2001

Yay! The best way to prevent crime is to make sure that children who can be reformed potential criminals know from three up that they're criminals.
"You are a criminal"
"what? can I just play with--"
"Shut up you! You are a criminal! You got that?!"

Since that's so good, I have a proposal, the purpose of which is to reduce crime and eleminate terrorism. It is a surefire plan too! It will make sure that no one will ever commit a crime ever again! How is it possible to reduce crime to zero and eradicate terrorism?

Complete nuclear destruction of all humanity! Yay! No more crime! No more terrorism! No need to worry about being safe ever again!
Pay attention to the ideals, stated purpose, and goal of my plan, and just ignore the part where your friends and family writhe in pain.
posted by fuq at 8:40 AM on November 26, 2001

Children involved in cheekiness, minor vandalism and causing nuisances, will be targeted under the scheme.

So, isn't this, like, every kid ever born? This idea of this IS scary, but the sheer silliness of it makes it seem a bit less threatening. Can you imagine the guidelines they plan on using to determine what merits an entry? Hitting? Not eating vegetables? Saying naughty words? What a waste of time...

Maybe Mr. Blair can contact Santa Claus and purchase a copy of The List.
posted by groundhog at 9:19 AM on November 26, 2001

Isnt it true that in UK parents also have to list their 3 year old children on waiting lists for elite Eaton or Harrow schools? Good cross referenced data base potential.
posted by Voyageman at 9:28 AM on November 26, 2001

No, Voyageman, UK parents have to list their 3 year old children on waiting lists for moderately decent schools that won't turn their offspring into crackheads.
posted by Summer at 9:30 AM on November 26, 2001

My wife was, apparently, a real fighter as a kid. Like, a punching-brawling-hair-pulling fighter. I don't believe she ever hit anyone once she got past the age of 10, and the last thing she'd do now is get involved in an argument, let alone a fight.

I often wonder how she might have fared in the U.S. schools' current "zero-tolerance" atmosphere. Probably there would have been a red flag on her name that would have followed her throughout her school life. (If she'd been a boy, she might have started her adolescence in juvenile hall).

Now it seems very likely that some UK child like my wife will get a Criminal/Danger notice branded upon her forehead. This makes me very sad.
posted by argybarg at 9:32 AM on November 26, 2001

Must a wealthy society necessarily spend more money on social structure

No, but the wealthy gradually begin to care less about the social fabric of the country - crap state school nearby? OK we'll send our little darling to St. Ponsonby's school and pay the fees. 6 Month waiting lists for that operation we need on the NHS? Never mind, we have private health.
With 'Middle England' finding alternative means of providing for themselves and wrapping a protective shield around their family and possesions, the pressure is off the Government to improve public services and on them to make it easier for people to pay for the services privately. The Government doesn't seem to mind as long as they are re-elected (this now seems to be far more important than actually doing a good job).

As for lists of criminal children, a few years ago I would have dismissed this as ridiculous, having seen how easily bills such as the RIP bill and the recent 'emergency' legislation to 'combat terrorism' (ha!) have made it through the Commons, nothing would surprise me.
posted by Markb at 9:33 AM on November 26, 2001

This is gonna backfire. They think it'll be a deterrent, that kids will not do bad things cuz they won't wanna get targeted or "watched."

This will become the equivalent of a status symbol. Kids will boast that they're "on The List." And other kids will think such troublemakers are kewl. So there will be young people who do small crimes just to get on the list so their peers will think they're reckless, dangerous and exciting.

Young male teens will find it helps them get the chicks.

Eventually the police will find this process unproductive. The data will reveal there's no consistency. Some of the kids they're watching will turn to harsher crimes. Some won't. They'll be focusing on the kids on this list, and meanwhile crimes will get committed by young people who come from left field and completely throw them off.

I'm not concerned about the question of rights being violated here. The concept is going to fail. They'll drop the project within three years, but you probably won't hear about it in the BBC. It will just fade into obscurity and be forgotten.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:42 AM on November 26, 2001

I find the irony of the British left most amusing -- for years they whined and complained that Margaret Thatcher wanted to turn the UK into some sort of a hugely politically-repressed fiefdom, but soon after their party came to power it started instituting such schemes themselves, and gave the so-called "war on drugs" a huge boost in Britain. What's more those things which Labour is instituting now are far scarier than anything Thatcher was ever accused of thinking about. Oh, the irony.

Even funnier is to hear an assessment of the situation by Primal Scream front-man Bobbie Gillespie (a UK version of Zack de la Rocha, of sorts): all this is just coming to be now because of Thatcher coming to power twenty-two years ago. Good thing his music is better than his logic...
posted by clevershark at 6:51 PM on November 26, 2001

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