.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fighting for the innocent

If the Observer's report that the names of nearly a million people who have not been convicted or cautioned for any crime will continue to be stored on the police national computer, even though the government is changing the law so that their DNA profiles are deleted is true then it is a disgrace.

The paper says that the government has been forced to scale back the way it holds the details of people held on the national DNA database, following a European Court ruling that retaining the profiles of people arrested but not charged with a crime or who were acquitted, was "disproportionate". As a result, government plans – outlined in the crime and security bill going through parliament – will limit how long the DNA profiles of such people can be kept. In most cases it will be up to six years.

But the Observer has established that the records of their arrest will be held by police for an indefinite period. The 2005 National DNA Database Annual Report says: "It has become necessary to retain a nominal record of every person arrested for a recordable offence on the Police National Computer… to help the police identify and locate an individual following a match being obtained on the [DNA database]." Prior to the expansion of the DNA database, details were deleted on acquittal or if charges were dropped after 42 days.

This has produced concerns from the office of the information commissioner that the very existence of a police identity record created as a result of a DNA sample being taken on arrest could prejudice the interests of the individual to whom it relates by creating inaccurate assumptions about his or her criminal past.

"The way in which permanent DNA retention leads to indefinite arrest records demonstrates the self-justification of the database state," said Isabella Sankey, policy director of campaign group Liberty. "Government has fed a culture where arrest might as well be conviction, and suspicion equals guilt. In this climate, a permanent record of suspicion can seriously damage the life chances of any young person who has ever had their collar felt by the police."

She is right. The government needs to rethink its approach to this issue.


Simple cure never vote Labour again, they will be out of power gone and hopefully never again will they get back in, but the problem is the Libs are not making enough of it, your still in third place and looking like a third placed party
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?