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Unsolved Due to Workflow Error

Saturday, May 19, 2007 by Slaughter Development

The British government maintains an ambitious registry of over four million DNA samples used in crime fighting. However, some major data entry problems have left nearly 200 crimes undetected.

Quoting from The Times:

As the total number of samples on the database topped 4 million — meaning that 5.5 per cent of the UK population now has their DNA held by the Government — officials acknowledged that 5,000 of those failed entries have never been loaded, so the full consequences of the failures are not known.

A Home Office spokesman said that there was one arson attack, 3 robberies, 9 burglaries, 19 drugs offences and 62 thefts among the 193 crimes that went unsolved because of the inputting failures, which were blamed on incomplete information and technical problems.

The article continues to explain the many controversies around this database; including the retention of DNA for people who have been cleared and the existence of many duplicate records. Whether you feel that a biometric registry is a great crime-fighting tool or a serious violation of civil liberties, the role of managing the system is complicated and apparently experiencing major problems. This government admission questions the integrity of the service, and makes discussing the deep social question much more difficult.

Any time a company, non-profit organization or government provides a service or introduces a program that inspires divisive emotional reactions, issues with quality and efficiency only muddy the debate. Parliament will not be able to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a national DNA registry if the office in charge cannot be be trusted to operate the database efficiently in the first place. Likewise, your operation must be especially effective when working in controversial areas or promoting change. Slaughter Development provides consulting services in these areas; helping companies maximize the impact of their methodologies, so that critics and supporters can focus on true products and services rather than supposed issues in provider quality.

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