Community groups have thrown their support behind Black Mental Health UK in voicing alarm over new plans set out by the Government to allow the police to continue to store DNA of innocent people on the national criminal database for up to six years to eight years.
These proposals, announced on Monday, are in response to a judgement by the European Court on Human rights, which ruled that the Home Office’s current policy of retaining innocent DNA on the criminal database indefinitely violates human rights law.
Community groups are disappointed with the Government’s response to the European Court’s judgement. They warn that hundreds of thousands of innocent people from Britain’s African Caribbean communities’ community will be continue to be criminalised by these plans.
The over policing of African Caribbean communities has led to a staggering 77% of young black men being profiled on the DNA database even though the Home Office’s own research shows they are less likely to commit a crime than their white counterparts.
Also 47% of black men over 35 years of age and 23% of black children between the ages of 10 and 16 compared with 10% of white children are currently on this system. Anyone profiled on the database is automatically treated as a suspect in any future crime and can be turned down for a visa or a job.
‘We were hoping to changes in the Crime and Security Bill that would address the over representation of innocent black people who are profiled on the DNA database.
To allow police officers to continue to collect and retain the DNA of innocent people will not foster good community relations. The only people who should be on a criminal database are convicted criminals,’ Matilda MacAttram director of Black Mental Health UK said.
‘The proposals in this bill are not welcome. If someone from our community comes in contact with the police it could turn into a sentence for life, because who knows what can happen within six years.
Young people need know that if they have any brush with the police, it could lead to them being on the database for over six years, just based on suspicion. These proposals show that these are dangerous times for our communities and do not foster trust. ,’ Frederick Clarke director of Mighty Men of Valour said.
‘Proposals in this Bill have far reaching and very negative implications for our community’s future. It is these kinds of changes that make it clear that it is time for people from our communities to rethink their loyalties. We need to ensure that whoever gets our vote at the next election will take actions that are in the best interests of our communities after they are elected. Lez Henry, director of NuBeyound Ltd said.