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.
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.
"It is part of a long-term crime prevention strategy. If you know you have had your DNA taken and it is on a database then you will think twice about committing burglary for a living." Wouldn't it be simpler to fit all new-born infants with an electronic tag? Perhaps they could be bar-coded too? And surely every town and city in the land needs a panopticon?
And so, you see, in a way, the "mainstream" parties often seem
[Ht-tip: Samizdata's Guy Herbert who asks, not unreasonably, why this isn't front-page news? ]