The online survey offers BMH UK readers the chance to air their view on this issue, which has not been widely debated within minority communities.
Although a public Home Office consultation on the retention of innocent DNA went live earlier this month, significant sections of the community are completely unaware of the consequences that the decisions that come out of this will have on ethnic minorities living in the UK.
The over representation of innocent people from African Caribbean communities on the national criminal database has led to concerns that this system has effectively criminalised Black Briton.
Currently over a third of the black male population living in the UK are on the database, despite this group having lower lifetime offending rates than their white counterparts. Every night innocent DNA profiles are compared with all the crime scene DNA profiles stored on the computer database.
‘The implications of having so many innocent people from one community on this system has not been publicly debated. Our work reaches right into the heart of communities who may not engage in a government consultations. This poll allows everyone affected by this issue to have a say,’ Matilda MacAttram director of Black Mental Health UK said.
‘Up and down the country people from minority communities who are on the database are having their DNA compared to that at a crime scene where they haven’t even been- its diabolical. What we would like to see is all innocent DNA removed from the Database and destroyed as soon as all charges have been dropped, 12 years in an unacceptable time to wait.’ Pastor Desmond Hall, chair of Christians Together in Brent said.
‘Its really important that people from BME communities have a say about the DNA database there is a shocking racial bias and a particularly high number of innocent young black men are on the system. People need to be more informed about this issue and this poll is a good way to do it,’ Dr Helen Wallace director of Gene Watch said.
‘The intentions of Government is significantly flawed, it would be totally unfair to keep the records of innocent. They should be immediately deleted because that is what the European court has said. People should use this poll to let their views be known,’Aurthor Torrington of the Windrush Foundation said.
‘I welcome this poll that will give the community a chance to have a say on how they feel about Government plans for the DNA database. The final decision on how it is used will affect will affect the future propects of the innocent people who are on it. The over representation of young people is of great concern, I will add my voice to speak out against this injustice and encourage others to do the same,’Bishop Llewellyn Grayham, church of God of prophesy said.
Add your vote to the online poll by visiting www.blackmentalhealth.org.uk
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