The legality of the drug mephedrone is under review, given that in its chemical composition it is very close indeed to ecstasy. Putting the rights and wrongs of that to one side, i am most concerned by this just in, over at the Register:
Barnard Castle-based Inspector Kevin Tuck is reported as saying: "In Durham police have taken a stance and anyone found with it will be arrested on suspicion of possession of a banned substance."
He adds: "They will be taken to a police cell, their DNA and fingerprints taken and that arrest, depending upon enquiries, could have serious implications for example on future job applications" (our italics).
We asked Durham police for clarification of what possible serious implications there could be for an individual found in possession of a legal substance who had their fingerprints or DNA taken. It was speculated that perhaps some employers would ask prospective job candidates about details not merely of convictions, but of all contact with police – and therefore having DNA taken could adversely affect job prospects for that reason.
However, we have had no official response to our inquiry and remain as baffled as the Home Office, who are still sticking to their line that DNA testing in and of itself can have no consequence for an individual.
Well, which is right, then..? Are we seeing a bottom-up change in policy as to the DNA database, or can we expect to see the Durham plod slapped down pronto?
We'll keep you posted on this as it unfolds.
By Alex Deane