Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 10 December 2008

DNA evidence - Labour's draconian laws...

CLAUSE 18 of the Counter-terrorism Bill 2008 will allow DNA and fingerprints to be gathered and held by a vast range of public bodies ranging from the security services to local councils. Such material will be available for 'national security' purposes, investigating and prosecuting crime, or for identification.

David Radlett, lecturer in law, University of Kent (personal capacity)

The body holding the material can allow checks to be made against it, or against information derived from it, and may disclose it to any person.

This will cause a surge in the national DNA database, which already contains the details of 4.43 million people (730,000 or so of whom have not been convicted of, or even cautioned for, any offence).

Material presently held on the database must have been taken from a person who has been arrested on suspicion of something (not that this provides any safeguard).

What the Counter-terrorism Bill 2008 does, amongst many other things, is allow the investigatory authorities to collect - in secret - DNA material from people who are merely being kept under surveillance.

The safeguards in the bill are risible. That is bad enough. However, the government is trying to use its control of the House of Commons to defeat an attempt by the House of Lords to add a set of rules under which a person could seek information regarding DNA evidence taken from them, and perhaps have that evidence destroyed.

Opposing such a modest proposal is even worse. What borders on the unbelievable is their excuse that the proposal involves: "a charge on public funds, and the Commons do not offer any further Reason, trusting that this Reason may be deemed sufficient".

So, officers of the state will be encouraged to grub around looking for used cups or drinking glasses, cigarette stubs or other material containing trace elements of DNA emanating from a person who may very well never be charged with an offence, never mind convicted of one.

The limited controls that apply to material taken from suspects will not apply here. And a government that spends billions on wars and bailing out the spivs and ne'er-do-wells in the banks and the City, pleads that it cannot afford the civil service time to work out a set of regulations under which a person could seek information regarding DNA evidence held on file, and have that evidence destroyed (if, perhaps, they were innocent of any criminal offence). So the government continues its relentless campaign to trample over civil liberties.

...condemned by European court

ON 4 December the European Court of Human Rights ruled that it is illegal for the police to retain the records of innocent people's DNA and fingerprints.

A unanimous verdict condemned the "blanket and indiscriminate nature" of laws in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in collecting suspects' DNA and fingerprints. In the case of one of the appellants to the court, a 12-year old boy was arrested and charged with attempted robbery in 2001, but cleared five months later. His DNA records, however, were kept seven years further on.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she was 'disappointed' at the European Court's decision, which is not binding on the government, and is considering what action to take.

The decision will probably have marginal impact on this New Labour government, although it may make them consider 'limiting' the evidence retention period to 25 years as is the case in France.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 10 December 2008:

Stop job cuts

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Save our NHS

International socialist news and analysis

Greece in widespread revolt

Queen's rep suspends Canada's parliament

Chicago workers occupy factory

Socialist Party editorial

Welfare 'reform' - fight these attacks

Crisis loans

Socialist Party campaigns

Usdaw presidential election - support Robbie!

DNA evidence - Labour's draconian laws...

Jean Charles de Menezes Coroner restricts inquest verdict

Lewisham's Greens and the BNP 'supporters list'

Education fightback

Student struggle in Spain - time of revolt

60,000 march against education cuts in Dublin

Wales - the true extent of student debt exposed

Workplace news and analysis

PCS gains steps towards settlement

Militant response needed at ex-Visteon plant to save jobs

South Wales job losses

The National Shop Stewards Network is organising a meeting for car workers and those in ancillary industries:

Unite against university attacks

Hospital trust offers pay cuts for Christmas

In brief

Environment and socialism

Water - essential of life or blue gold?

Socialist Party review

Socialism and left unity - a critique of the Socialist Workers Party


Home   |   The Socialist 10 December 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleSalford Socialist Party: The history of the Labour movement in Ireland

triangleRussia, spies and nerve agents

triangleLeicester: Blairites block Labour Party democracy

triangleSwansea Labour council votes for cuts


triangleProfiteering NHS counter-fraud firm in alleged case of... fraud

triangleRate of black imprisonment worse than US

triangleRacist smears won't stop child sex abuse

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Refugee Rights campaigners on the 17.3.18 anti-racism demo - pics


Socialist Party

Socialist Party congress 2018



Strike continues: set dates for next national action


Socialist Party

Members dig deep into their pockets to support the party


North West

Campaigners continue to demand Chorley A&E is fully reopened



Swansea Labour council votes for cuts



Derby public meeting: Women's Lives Matter



Seeing-off the bigoted, billionaire toff!



Continuing the fighting tradition of working class women



Workplace news in brief



Leicester: Blairites block Labour Party democracy



Leaked pay deal: fight for a genuine pay rise



We feel that we will win - a striker speaks



Woolwich ferry workers win automation campaign



UCU strike: bosses on the run

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018