Tag Archive | "Home Office"

Jacqui Smith wants your DNA, innocent or guilty

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Jacqui Smith wants your DNA, innocent or guilty

The Home Office has outlined a series of proposals in relation to the DNA database designed to counter the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that it was illegal. However, in doing so, they have demonstrated utter contempt for the ruling, choosing instead to go for a fudge. If these proposals are put into force, it will inevitably lead to further legal challenges in the European Court by Human Rights campaigners.

The Home Office consultation proposes the following:

  • Destroying all original DNA samples, like mouth swabs, as soon as they are converted into a digital database profile
  • Automatically deleting after 12 years the profiles of those arrested but not convicted of a serious violent or sexual crime
  • Automatically deleting after six years the profiles of anyone arrested but not convicted of other offences
  • Retaining indefinitely the DNA profiles and fingerprints of anyone convicted of a recordable offence
  • Remove the profiles of young people arrested but not convicted, or convicted of less serious offences, when they turn 18

The bottom line, is that even in Big Brother Britain, you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. It is, therefore, unreasonable in the extreme for DNA samples to be retained where individuals have been arrested, but not convicted, or arrested but not even charged. By retaining the samples, the Home Office is suggesting, by implication, that the individual may commit an offence in the future. Under these proposals, if the Home Office want to increase the size of the database, all they have to do is encourage the Police to arrest more people, the Police will then be entitled to take, record and retain a DNA sample.  How long before the Police are targeted on the taking of DNA samples?

Clearly DNA evidence can be very useful in solving crimes. However, this must be weighed against the infringement on the civil liberties of the majority. We are all entitled to be treated as innocent until proven guilty. We must not permit the state to use this ‘back door’ method of arrest without charge to increase the size of the DNA database.  It is also worth noting that the Home Office is proposing that DNA samples be retained indefinitely for what is termed a recordable offence. But these offences can vary from the public order offence of failing to give notice of a procession and, for example, drunkeness, public order, begging  right through to having a bladed weapon or crossbow in public.  In fact, making a hoax 999 call or falsely claiming a professional qualification are all recordable crimes. How can such a broad range of offences brought under the innocuously sounding term ‘recordable offence’ be considered proportionate, especially given any of these offences would mean that your DNA is on file for life under the current proposals.

Whatever your view on Big Brother Britain and the DNA database, we must all remind ourselves, that in 12 years, this government has introduced 3,607 new laws, in other words, a month doesn’t go by without there bing new laws that we are supposed to know and not infringe. If this continues, it is only a matter of time before we all find ourselves on the national DNA database. No government in the world has considered it necessary or desirable to have so many of their citizens recorded on a DNA database. In fact the UK has the largest database in the world, now ask yourself this, do we all feel safer, do we have a higher detection and conviction rate when compared to comparable countries? NO! Because if we did, you can be certain that the Home Office would have told us.

We must say no to this massive intrusion into our everyday lives.

Posted in Big Brother, Civil Liberties, General, Labour, Lib Dems | Comments (5)

European Court of Human Rights, DNA rebuke

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European Court of Human Rights, DNA rebuke

How ironic that British subjects have had to turn to the European Courts to protect their liberty and privacy, rather than being able to rely on our own laws. If this does not demonstrate just how far this control obsessed government has gone to destroy the rights and civil liberties of the people of this country, then nothing will.

The case was brought by two men who had their DNA profile and fingerprints taken when they were charged with an offence. One had his charges dropped and the other was acquitted, yet in spite of this, the South Yorkshire Police, supported by the government, refused to destroy the DNA profile and fingerprints. Under existing laws, DNA profiles of everyone arrested for a recordable offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are kept on the database, regardless of whether they are charged or convicted. This is not the case in Scotland where records are destroyed. 

Now, in what turned out to be a unanimous decision of 17 judges sitting in Strasbourg, the Grand Chamber Judgment ruled that the action of the police was violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which is the ‘right to respect for private and family life‘. In fact, the Court went further, stating that the retention of this information could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society and they had been struck by the indiscriminate nature of the power of detention in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This amounts to a direct rebuke of the British government. Needless to say Jacqui Smith who has spent a great deal of public money defending the governments position, is “disappointed”, with the outcome. Just who the hell does she think she is, I thought she said that no-one was above the law.?

I do not doubt that DNA profiling is a useful tool in the fight against crime, however, there are other civil liberty concerns that should have been considered. This government has ignored any civil liberty and right to privacy issues by introducing legislation that allows DNA profiles to be retained irrespective of whether the people involved have been convicted of an offence. This is an affront to the people of this country and it has taken the European Court to uphold our rights by applying an equal measure of commonsense and existing human rights laws to come to a judgement.

What a pity this government could not have done the same. In part, we are at fault, because so many people fall, hook line and sinker, everytime the government come out with a line as to why they need to bring in new, draconian laws, believing it will never affect majority of us. Well that is simply not true. Once you discard our right to liberty, privacy and freedom, you deny us virtually everything, given it is but a short step to a police state. Take the Damian Green affair, the opposition parties never thought that the laws which they allowed this government to pass would come back and bite them in the backside, they thought it just affected the plebs! The police and security services in this country have unprecedented powers for a democratic country.

This government, as arrogant as ever, has insisted that the existing laws will remain in place whilst they consider the judgement. What? They have just been rebuked by 17 judges, from across Europe and they still insist that they are right. Does the arrogance of Jacqui Smith and the New Labour government know no bounds? A European Court has ruled that this government has not acted reasonably having failed to get the balance between the public interest and that of the private individual. In fact they noted in their judgement that England, Wales and Northern Ireland appear to be the only countries in the European Union that allow the indefinite retention of DNA profiles. Further, that in effect, this government has not applied any commonsense, nor have they considered the European Charter prior to drafting the legislation. Surely a competent government would not have drafted laws in this country without considering how they would impact on European Human Rights legislation? Unless of course, they couldn’t give a toss, believing that we are all so stupid that we will accept whatever is thrown at us, only realising that we have lost when it is too late to do anything about it.

I would like to see one of the major parties take up civil liberty issues and try and redress the balance between state and individual, because as far as I can see, we are sleep-walking into a police state, where civil liberties, freedom and a right to privacy is disregarded by a government with a phobia for control, a penchant for bullying and delusional self-gratification. No wonder they spend so much time in from of mirrors!

Posted in General | Comments (11)

Gurkhas treatment by UK government illegal

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Gurkhas treatment by UK government illegal

A few weeks ago I argued that the British government treatment of Gurkha’s who had left the army prior to 1997 was immoral and unfair: http://www.power-to-the-people.co.uk/2008/09/immigration-policy-farce/ In effect, the government argued that Gurkha’s that had retired from the army prior to 1997 would not have an automatic right to stay in the UK.

Today, instead of the government acting with honour, it was left to the judiciary, The judge, Mr Justice Blake, said the Gurkhas’ long service, conspicuous acts of bravery and loyalty to the Crown all pointed to a “moral debt of honour” and gratitude felt by British people. I could not have put it better myself. He went on to say that the advice given by the Home Office to the immigration department was unlawful and required urgent revision.

I cannot but wonder, in light of Jacqui Smith’s statement, why it was necessary for this to go to court. Jacqui Smith said in a statement “I have always been clear that where there is a compelling case, soldiers and their families should be considered for settlement,” she said. “We will honour our commitment to the Gurkha’s by reviewing all cases by the end of the year.” Actions speak louder than words, but this type of response and intransigence has become typical of this particular government. The public will be watching to ensure that the government does not attempt to get out of this commitment.

Posted in General, Labour | Comments (0)

Home Office crime wave warning dossier

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Home Office crime wave warning dossier

Now let me get this straight. According to a “leaked” dossier, the credit crunch is going to result in an increase in crime, extremism, racism, violence and illegal working. Is there any area of responsibility that the Home Office has not covered?  Talk about trying to cover their backsides. They have covered virtually every area of responsibility they have, up to and including, terrorism.

Now, whilst I accept that this document is supposed to have been leaked and therefore is not supposed to have been endorsed by Jacqui Smith. Precisely what does Jacqui Smith and the Home Office intend to do about it? With a budget of nearly £14bn, surely we can expect a little more from these prophets of doom? If this was a private or for that matter a public company, it is a racing certainty that Smith would have been fired.

So, according to the Home Office, a rise in crime, extremism, racism, violence, illegal working and terrorism has nothing to do with the Home Office, nothing to do with the government, but instead can be blamed in its entirety on the state of the economy or the credit crunch, depending on your take of the situation.

Well now the cat is out of the bag Jacqui, we demand to know precisely what you are going to do about it. If you are simply going to accept it, then you should resign now. If your department is suggesting a 19% increase, based on the 1992 figures, then we would like to know why, in spite of the significant investment in your department, and 11 years in government, you expect to fair no better than the conservative government of 1992? Your government has presided over a significant erosion of our civil rights, your government has introduced draconian laws which allow the police and scores of other government departments to snoop on the private affairs of virtually every individual in the UK, and your government has increased significantly the spending, in real terms on policing and counter-terrorism in this country.  This is the quid pro quo, speak now.

A dossier produced by your department has been leaked. You must now tell us which parts you agree with and which parts you don’t. Then based on this information, you must then tell us what you are going to do to reduce the doomsday scenario of your own department. If this is simply your departments’ way of having something placed into the public domain, so they can later claim that they told us so when these scenarios are allowed to become fact, then that is totally unacceptable.

We should not need to remind you that you and your government are public servants, you are employed and rewarded for doing a job, and failure should not be an option. Simply telling us that you are going to fail in advance is no excuse.

Posted in Labour | Comments (0)

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