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Crime and Security Bill

Part of Bill Presented — Pedicabs Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:58 pm on 18th January 2010.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden 5:58 pm, 18th January 2010

I thank my hon. Friend for his explanation; he is expert in this, as he serves as a special constable. However, I am afraid that in all truth-please do not take this wrongly-I do not care about that: what I care about is the impact on an ordinary citizen, who could be one of my constituents. In fact, I do not have any immigrant minorities in my constituency, but it could be one of my constituents in another context. My point is this: if these things happen to a whole community on a regular basis, just think what that does.

Incidentally, there is nothing in the Bill about the PNC database, as far as I can see-perhaps I have misread it and the Minister can intervene to tell me so. The Government talk about taking off a person's DNA details after six years, but their entry on the PNC database showing that they were arrested will stay for life. Even if somebody is successful under this scheme and gets their DNA details taken off, the fact that they were arrested stays on the record.

I do not know how many of those in the House have tried to get a visa to enter the United States and have seen the form that is filled in and the record check that is done, but it is clear that someone who has been arrested is very unlikely to get that visa. Indeed, the principal concern of my hon. Friend Damian Green after the disgraceful piece of neo-totalitarian treatment that he experienced was that he would never be able to go on holiday to America again, let alone go on political trips and whatever else he does there. This Bill affects that, as well as a person's ability to get a job. This is for life, remember. Under these provisions, a person is declared a suspect for life-again, a stake through the heart of civil liberties.

It is not uncommon for total innocents to be caught up. My constituency is the 10th richest constituency in the country, as hon. Members who went there during the by-election probably know. It is not all dark satanic mills-it is very pretty, like Surrey in the north. It is very well-off and very orderly; indeed, it has the lowest crime rate in the country. When I was shadow Home Secretary, my local paper rang up and said, "You've got the lowest crime rate in the country," and I said, "I should bloody well hope so." The simple truth is that that is the nature of the constituency. Yet I have there three people on the DNA database who are clearly, to my mind, innocent; two of them are children arrested on the basis of malicious allegations from other children. My police authority is one of those where people are never taken off the database. Perhaps that is not surprising, as it was involved in the Soham episode; I think that if I were the chief constable in Humberside I would be very chary about taking that decision. However, that means that the youngsters will be on it pretty much until they are adult-at the time of their first application for a job, if they do not go off to university. The third person is a man who works in the care sector-or at least he did until last year. These are innocent people who are having their lives destroyed, damaged or in some way harmed by this situation.

What is the basis of this? The Home Secretary is actually a rather close friend of mine. We travel back to our consistencies on the train together, we are next-door neighbours and we co-operate on all sorts of things-I am probably doing him great harm by saying all this, but never mind.

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