This is the official blog of Sgt Ellie Bloggs, a real live police sergeant on the front line of England. It's not the official opinion of my police force, but all the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't pay my salary.


(All proceeds from Google Ads will be donated to the Police Roll of Honour Trust)

Monday, October 22, 2007

In Search of Our Four Fathers

It appears that for about £100 you can now send off your DNA to trace your ancestry.

I do wonder sometimes why it therefore costs Blandshire Constabulary up to £2000 to send off a DNA swab for comparison against one collected at a crime scene. I am accustomed to hearing from Scenes of Crime Officers (SOCO) the rebuff, "too expensive", when I present them with the missing link in my flawless investigation and ask them to send my suspect to prison please.

When SOCO do agree to analyse my samples, therefore, I am often girlishly thrilled. Sometimes I even throw my hair about, and jump up and down on my cute little toesies. Never more so than when the results actually come back positive. For anyone who doesn't know how this process works, it's something like this:
  • SOCO visit a burglary/robbery and collect an amorphous substance from a wall/door/item of clothing.
  • The amorphous substance is analysed for DNA.
  • If a full DNA profile is obtained, it can then be sent for comparison against the national database. This has the DNA of anyone who's been arrested, plus other samples from other crime scenes that haven't been identified yet.
  • If there's a match, I receive instructions to arrest the suspect (by now it is 2 months later, unless it's a murder in which case it miraculously happens in 2 hours).
  • Once arrested, I take more DNA from the suspect which goes back off to the lab for comparison with the sample collected from the crime scene. Yes, this does mean doing the very expensive test TWICE, just so no one can argue that the sample we compared the first time belonged to someone who used the defendant's name when they were arrested. Fair enough I suppose.
  • All of which means that it will be about 4 months to charge someone with an offence based on DNA.
Surprisingly, I have arrested a fair few burglars who accidentally bled at their crime scenes. In fact, I once arrested a guy who had bled whilst committing three different crimes (years apart) and was identified from his DNA on each occasion. You'd think he'd learn to take bandages with him.

It never stopped him denying he did it, mind you. Right now, the science-sceptics will not convict anyone based SOLELY on DNA evidence. They make you dance through ridiculous circles like proving your suspect wasn't elsewhere on the night in question, or has an identical twin. This kind of nit-picking undermines our glorious legal system and I welcome the day we can convict on the basis that if the person has been arrested before, they must be guilty this time too.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Inspector Gadget said...

We recently ran out of dna kits in custody because we had over spent our bidget. This is because we had arrested tons more people to get more detections. These extra prisoners did not have their dna taken because there were no kits. They were probably all rapists from the 80's but never mind.

23 October, 2007 07:12

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Four fathers"?
Now THAT would confuse the testing kit.
How's it work again, I want a video :-)

23 October, 2007 08:34

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Four Fathers'. Wasn't that a tad expensive at Christmas time; or are you sharing the post with your three sisters?

23 October, 2007 18:01

 
Anonymous xoggoth said...

I think people should be convicted on how they look.

If there has been a crime just drive around and arrest the first ugly bloke with little piggy eyes, these sorts are nearly always criminals.

Of course this approach will result in the odd miscarriage of justice but well worth it when you think of all the money saved on investigations, courts etc.

23 October, 2007 20:33

 
Blogger Metcountymounty said...

You're not suggesting that the Police SERVICE are currently paying nearly 20 times the market rate for something are you?? I couldn't imagine someone being that stupid to pay for a piece of technology that is 15 years out of date by the time of delivery, or instead of paying the full price for a decent system they pay half for a shit one then ten times the purchase amount trying to make it work.

The thing about trying to be more business like is that businesses would collapse due to budget constraints and shareholder resentment if they constantly paid over the odds for the items and services essential to the day to day running. Kind of like we do... and look... we're collapsing under budget constraints and shareholder resentment in the form of the public hating us.

23 October, 2007 22:51

 
Anonymous André said...

Met, yes.

24 October, 2007 00:49

 
Blogger Metcountymounty said...

Andre, thanks.

25 October, 2007 11:46

 
Anonymous Thomas Smith said...

Here in Oklahoma City we had a problem caused by a state payrolled chemist blowing many cases based on poor technique. I don't blame anyone for asking a second opinion.

27 October, 2007 02:37

 
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