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Crime and Security Bill

Part of Bill Presented — Pedicabs Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:26 pm on 18th January 2010.

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Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 4:26 pm, 18th January 2010

The reality remains that this Government have been in power for 12 years. We have been through a situation, year after year, where the number of mobile phone seizures in our prisons has risen rather than fallen. It is all well and good the Government saying, as a last hurrah three years after some of these things happened, that they are introducing these measures. That does not create the sense that they have sought to stamp out something that has been a problem for many years.

We will have to look carefully at how the proposed domestic violence protection notices and domestic violence protection orders will work in practice. Concerns have been raised about the proposed breadth and scope of those civil measures. It is important that they are not used as inappropriate substitutes for pursuing proper sanctions in the courts against perpetrators of domestic violence. None the less, there is agreement across this House that domestic violence remains an issue of very great importance, and it is right and proper that we should take measures to try to deal with it.

We welcome measures to clamp down on wheel-clampers. I am not usually one to argue for greater regulation of business, but this business deserves everything that is coming to it. While no industry is ever all bad, the wheel-clamping sector has acted with little regard for the public and often in a way that is not far short of the tradition of the highwayman. It is time that those who impose swingeing targets on the public, with little or no accountability in doing so, face tough restraints on their activities. Not all companies involved in the sector are bad, but there are enough to have brought it discredit and for there to be a genuine need for tougher regulation.

Those are measures that we would happily see passed into law, but none of them is of sufficient significance to get us to back away from the key point of principle that divides us from the Government-the DNA database. The current system is all wrong. I am seldom a fan of the European Court, but on this matter it has clearly got things right. We have, for years, been storing the DNA of innocent people on our national DNA database. People who go into a police station voluntarily to help with an inquiry, like my hon. Friend Mr. Hands, find themselves on the list. People who are briefly questioned in a police station about a crime that they did not commit find themselves giving DNA to be stored for the future. People who are arrested on one of those occasions when the police hugely overreact, as in the case of my hon. Friend Damian Green, find their DNA being taken, and few succeed, as he did, in having their DNA removed.

Indeed, data that we recently obtained revealed that innocent people trying to have their DNA removed from the database face a postcode lottery. Some police forces refuse to remove any records at all once a case is closed and the person declared innocent, while others comply with 80 per cent. of requests for deletion. On average, only 22 per cent. of requests to have DNA removed are granted.

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