BBC Radio London’s Sunday programme on how DNA database has criminalised Black Briton

BBC Radio London

Growing fears that Government policy on the DNA database has surreptitiously criminalised every black family in Britain will be one of the issues debated on BBC Radio London’s Sunday night, weekly news show, from 8.00 – 10.00pm tonight.

Hosted by Dotun Adebayo, this evening’s show can be heard live by tuning into 94.9 FM and can also be accessed on digital radio and online.

Matilda MacAttram, director of Black Mental Health UK (BMH UK), is a guest on this evening’s show. She will be looking at how Wednesday’s announcement by the Home Office, that innocent DNA will continue to be kept on the criminal database for up to six years, will impact on people from African Caribbean communities.

Currently 77% of all young black men and 42% of the entire black male population have their DNA profiled on the DNA database. Children from this community are also over represented on this system. Close to one out of four black children (23%) compared to one out of ten white children (10%) are profiled on the database. This is despite Home Office research showing that people from these communities are less likely to commit a crime than their white counterparts.

The purpose of the police retaining an individual’s DNA on this database is to treat them as a suspect for any future crime.
With at least one member of every family from this community currently on this system, a growing number of equality and civil liberties groups are adding their voice to BMH UK, who are concerned that this technology has effectively criminalised every Black family in Britain.

BMH UK have been campaigning for over two years to bring this issue to light. Very little information about the National Criminal DNA database, or it’s impact on black communities or mental health service users, has been readily available in the community.

The decision by the government to charge innocent people £200 to apply to have their DNA removed from the national database under proposals in this week’s Queen Speech will also be discussed.
Close to 70% of Britain’s African Caribbean population live in the capital city. Adebayo’s Sunday show will be of particular interest the hundreds of thousands of listeners across the capital, who will be directly affected by this issue.
‘The DNA database poses one of the most serious threats to race relations in Britain to date. At least one member of every black family is Britain is likely to be on it, but the information available to people is negligible.
This week’s Home Office announcement flies in the face of the fundamental principle that people are innocent until proven guilty. With just six months to go until the next election, this government would be wise to rethink this position. This community traditionally vote Labour but are unlikely to vote for a government that has criminalised them through their ill thought out policies.’ Matilda MacAttram director of Black Mental Health UK said.

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