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DNA test brings arrest for spitting at bus driver

London Evening Standard |April 6, 2005
By Richard Edwards

A 17-year-old has been arrested for spitting at a bus driver in north London under a crime prevention pilot scheme.

The youth is one of the first to face prosecution after the launch of a new scheme in which bus drivers have been provided with DNA testing kits to help catch offending passengers.

The driver was in Brent when the youth spat in his face. He took a sample of the saliva using a sterile swab. Police then tested it and found a match on the national DNA database.

The 17-year-old was arrested yesterday and held for questioning-He may face a charge of causing a public nuisance or actual bodily harm.

Some 2,500 kits - containing two swabs, gloves and an evidence bag - have been given to drivers and other transport workers whose routes take them through Brent.

The pilot scheme is codenamed Gobstopper, and if it is successful, kits may also be issued to nightclub bouncers, traffic wardens and other workers at risk.

Since the operation began last September there have been 15 cases reported to police. A Met spokesman said: "This is a positive result from a scheme which is proving very popular with bus drivers. It's a horrible offence which should be punished."

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