Officers are targeting children as young as 10 with the aim of placing their DNA profiles on the national database to improve their chances of solving crimes, it is claimed.
The alleged practice is also described as part of a “long-term crime prevention strategy” to dissuade youths from committing offences in the future.
The claim comes amid widespread criticism of government proposals to store DNA profiles of innocent people, including some children, on the database for up to 12 years.
(ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)
Civil liberty campaigners have condemned the tactic of as “diabolical” and said it showed contempt for children’s freedom.
A Metropolitan Police officer made the claims after figures were released showing that 386 under-18s had their DNA taken and stored by police last year in Camden, north London.
The officer said: “Have we got targets for young people who have not been arrested yet? The answer is yes. But we are not just waiting outside schools to pick them up, we are acting on intelligence.