Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Free DNA swab for every Citizen!

The latest bad idea that is doing the rounds at the moment is the proposal to swab every citizen and every visitor to the UK and add everyone to the DNA database.

At the moment all suspects (those arrested) of a recordable (i.e reasonably serious) crime are swabbed and their DNA stored on file; the records remain even if the suspect is never convicted.

There is a question about this I agree, the 2004 act slipped through Parliament and I don't think people realised the fundamental impact on civil liberties of keeping indefinite biometric records of suspects who turn out to be innocent, or are never brought to trial.

But to suggest that the answer to this is to in effect make every citizen a suspect is the ultimate nightmare.

Juries are notoriously convinced by DNA evidence, imagine if you were wrongly identified via a mistaken DNA sample - easy enough with over 100,000,000 samples to choose from. You would have the unenviable task of proving to the jury that you were innocent, the very opposite of our civil right to be innocent until proven guilty.

This utterly shocking idea is made worse because of the 'PC' thinking behind it. This isn't being suggested because it would help cut crime, or stop innocent people being wrongly convicted. No it's being proposed because of the discovery that just 12% of white males are on the database against 40% of black males.

Lord Justice Sedley, an experienced appeal court judge who came up with the proposal, said: "We have a situation where if you happen to have been in the hands of the police then your DNA is on permanent record. If you haven't, it isn't.

"It means where there is ethnic profiling going on disproportionate numbers of ethnic minorities get onto the database."

If the Police are arresting too many black men (and the figures suggest they may be) the answer isn't to demand that they arrest everyone; which is what the logic of the Judges argument is.

1 comment:

A voter said...

Mr Wood, do you oppose ID cards as well?

If you are against ID cards and against DNA testing, how do you propose that we cut crime?