Many were delighted to see the child killer Ian Huntley jailed. At the time, much was made of the bullying and humiliation that Huntley had experienced at school. It later came to light that Huntley had previously been investigated regarding a variety of prior offences, most of them involving underage sex or sexual violence.
Backgrounds such as that found in the Huntley case seem to have led to a belief that it would be possible to 'profile' people and predict future criminality. In 2006 The Times carried an article about the police targeting dangerous suspects before they can offend:
The highly controversial database will be used by police and other agencies to target suspects before they can carry out a serious offence. [...] The Soham murderer Ian Huntley and the serial rapist Richard Baker have been used as examples of the type of man police will identify.
This theme has been continued and expanded this year with the ONSET system, which will profile children to determine whether they are likely to become a young offender.
This 'Minority Report' style of (potential) crime prevention is a clear reversal of one of the founding principles of UK law - that a person is innocent until proven guilty. And one has to wonder how it will be put into effect; will a young person's parents be told that their child is a 'will-be criminal' suspect? Will their teachers? It seems likely that for the system to have any perceived value, people will have to be told (to 'keep an eye' on the child), and the odds of the child finding out about their suspected status will be high. What effect is that going to have on them?