UK government lethargic on European DNA ruling

May 7, 2009 at 22:20 2 comments

Harun RabbaniAlthough the European Court on Human Rights deems it unlawful, the UK was the only one out of 47 members of the Council of Europe to permit systematic retention of DNA samples and profile from people who have been acquitted.

In December 2008, the European Court of Human Rights heavily criticised the UK government for its actions:


“The retention constituted a disproportionate interference with the applicants’ right to respect for private life and could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society”

They have demanded immediate action to cease this practice. In an interview with the BBC’s Radio Four, the inventor of genetic technology, Sir Alec Jeffrey agrees with the court’s assessment that this level of retention was “blanket and indiscriminate”.

“There’s a real risk of stigmatisation, particularly ethnic minorities are being over-represented, along with juveniles,” he said.

Finally, government ministers have agreed to have 850,000 profiles of innocent people to be removed from the database. But they still argue the case for retaining profiles.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil rights group Liberty, makes a strong argument: “This isn’t necessarily a complete two fingers to the court of human rights but it comes pretty close.

“We don’t base the justice system on criminologists’ projections. The logic of the government’s position would be to take every man, woman and child in the country and put them on the database, just in case.”

It is the duty of elected politicians to represent the interests of its public and protect its civil liberties and rights. It’s also important that the everyday man and woman on the street hold their local politician to account to ensure fair representation.

Harun Rabbani


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. DrAlanRae  |  May 7, 2009 at 22:28

    Hi Harun

    in my more paranoid moments I sometimes think that the true new Labour project is to criminalise the lot of us.

    Hope all is well with you


    • 2. humantwopointzero  |  May 7, 2009 at 22:51

      Hi Alan

      Thank you for your comment. I’m not sure you are paranoid. The current government has been introducing laws that is turning the UK into a police state. They are preying on the fear and vulnerability of its citizens through mis-management of information.

      To your success!



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