>That’s quite a scary headline. I must surely been writing about some horrendous totalitarian regime that’s storing up people’s genetic material for nefarious purposes.
Actually no. Stephen has today highlighted that our very own Police Force is arresting people for no real good reason just so they can nab their DNA for the database, and if you happen to be a black male, your chances of having that happen to you are much higher than those of a white female like me.
What’s even more horrifying is that around a third of that figure is the DNA of children. This article shows how easily a child’s DNA could be put on the database and the consequences of that.
The Government’s own figures admit to the DNA of 980,000 innocent people being on the database. I wonder if they’re going to offer some amazing prize to the looming millionth victim of such DNA harvesting.
I noticed on Twitter last week that Jo Shaw, Lib Dem PPC for Holborn and St Pancras in London was organising DNA Surgeries where she’s been advising people, including children, how to get their DNA off the database. As a board member of Liberty, she feels very strongly about this unwarranted abuse of our personal information by the state. Liberal Democrat MP Jenny Willott has also held a similar event, as has Labour MP Diane Abbott.
I asked her how the surgery had gone and she replied:
Good thanks! Good few interested kids and was great to get the message out about the DNA database. Going to do it again!.
I asked her a bit more about the sort of advice and help she was able to give to people and she very kindly sent me a copy of the draft letters and advice she was able to give to people. You can find out more here. I wasn’t surprised to discover that the Police guidance tells them to always refuse the first request so if you want to make sure that your records are destroyed, you will have to be persistent.
These surgeries are a really practical way of putting liberal values into action. They pioneer a practical way of empowering people, giving them the information and the tools that will help them right the injustice they’ve suffered. They let people no that it’s not ok for the state to store your genetic material for no good reason and show them what they can do to challenge it.
The more people who join Liberty, the more people they’ll be able to help with all sorts of injustice and abuse of their human rights. Here’s how to join.