Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Conservative civil liberty plans opaque.

The Tories have stated many times that they intend to scrap the ID card scheme and the retention of the DNA of innocent people. I asked for some clarification from Tory shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling:

# Do you also intend to remove names and personal details of innocent people who have been arrested from the Police National Database?
# I understand that you intend to scrap the NIR and just retain basic details on the passport database. However, do you intend to collect fingerprints?

To which I got the cryptic reply: Our plans are limited at present to our proposal to implement the Scottish system for the DNA database and also to abandon the NIR.

Under the Scottish system the DNA of innocent people who are not convicted of an offence have their DNA removed from your DNA database (apart from those charged with violent and sexual offences when the DNA is retained for 3 years).

However, the National Police Improving Agency, NPIA which is responsible for the National Fingerprint Database (IDENT1) states that:

Every person arrested in England, Scotland and Wales for a recordable offence has their fingerprints, palm prints and limited nominal data taken and entered onto the database. DNA and mug-shot photographs are also obtained. This data is synchronised with the "arrest record" on the Police National Computer (PNC) or on the Scottish Criminal History System (CHS).

A consultation in Scotland from February 2009 provides us with this proposal, to:

....bring the law on the retention of fingerprints taken from unconvicted persons into line with DNA retention provisions. Fingerprints and other relevant physical data will be retained from unconvicted persons only if proceedings have been raised against them for a relevant sexual or violent offence.

So, the Tories will use the Scottish system but the Scottish system at present would appear to retain the fingerprints and other personal data of innocent people.

Will the Tories follow any new Scottish system? Will they keep to the present Scottish system? They are certainly not saying.

As for fingerprints in passports - well they certainly aren't saying they intend to prevent these being on the passport database.

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