Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The One That Wrote A Letter. . .

To his MP (Julian Brazier, CON). Probably a waste of time, but I feel very strongly about this. This is a watershed moment, a point of no return. As soon as the state owns little bits of innocent people, the rest of our mortal bodies will follow as sure as day follows night.

Commit a crime, you've got it coming.

Don't commit a crime, you should be free, free, free.

This is not freedom.

I will post the reply, if one is forthcoming.

Dear Venal Corrupt Trougher, (I didn't really put that, but was sorely tempted)

I am writing to voice my objection, in the strongest possible fashion, to the retention of the DNA sequences of the innocent on what I can only find referred to as 'the database'. (BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8353824.stm) and other major media outlets, today).

It is my belief that a person's DNA is their most private and personal data, and for the state to appropriate this material at their leisure fundamentally changes the relationship between citizen and state in a most disturbing and Orwellian way. I, and every other person resident in the UK, do not belong to the state. I am a private citizen, and my own personal bio-data belongs to me.

I am thankful that, as far as I am aware, my DNA sequence does not appear on 'the database', I have not been arrested and had my DNA taken from me. However I completely agree with the civil liberties campaigners who are so unhappy with the practice of retention.

I have always been of the impression that the police were an agency tasked with enforcing the law, however I become more and more wary as they embark on what amounts to lobbying and media spin. For them to say that 'retaining samples has helped solve crimes' seems a reasonable assertation on the face of it, but when one investigates the figures it becomes clear that a collection of almost 6,000,000 profiles has helped to solve 0.7% of crimes. Even when accounting for the hundreds of acts this government has declared criminal since taking power, one can only conclude that we are living in a society where crime is the norm, or that DNA retention is not as useful a tool as we are led to believe.

The argument is illogical. Where do we draw the line? It is all very well to talk in terms of rapists and murderers, but the Home Office and police seem to lose sight of the fact that these people have been arrested under suspicion of a crime, not convicted of its perpetration. The inference from the HO is that whilst it could not be proven that an individual committed an offence, they were arrested, so must have some degree of guilt - this goes against the practice of proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If we take the argument that retention helps solve crimes, an argument built on weasel words if ever I heard one, then it would be logical to ensure everyone's DNA is taken from them at birth (this is not an argument I subscribe to). A step further? Those arrested and not charged or acquitted in court, being made to report to a police station on a weekly basis? Or being tagged?

Given this account from Cambridgeshire (Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1226688/Grandfather-arrested-dawn-held-police-cell-SIX-hours-using-single-swear-word-council-official.html) 11th November) is this man to have his DNA sequence retained, lest he be a rapist or murderer?

This practice reduces the private citizen to the status of a chattel. It is the 21st century equivalent to a Stasi file, an indication of the attitude that everyone is guilty of something and it is only a matter of time before it reveals itself. It is also only as good as the people who administer it, and whilst I would hesistate to accuse the police of tampering with evidence, poor lab practice or searching only for a DNA sample at a crime scene can and will lead to miscarriages of justice.

I find this practice to be repugnant and deeply, deeply sinister, and would hope in the likely event of a Conservative victory at the next general election, that a new Tory administration would ensure that the data of the innocent is destroyed as soon as that innocence cannot be dis-proved.

Best wishes,

Wolfers.

2 comments:

increasinglymiffed said...

I strongly agree with you. I've just about had it with our country.

manofkent said...

Don't know why you bothered - Brazier is just a photocopy tory - will vote how he's told by Dave as long as he can keep his seat.