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New Clause 1 — Retention, destruction and use of fingerprints and samples

Part of Crime and Security Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 8th March 2010.

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Photo of Tony Baldry Tony Baldry Conservative, Banbury 5:15 pm, 8th March 2010

My right hon. and learned Friend, who has witnessed even more wash-ups than I have, gives some sensible advice that I am sure will have been heard by those on the Treasury Bench.

Let me come back to the point that Chris Huhne made. I approach this issue in a slightly different way. The whole raison d'être of the Bill was the European Court's judgment; that is why we are here. If it had not been for that, we would never have had a Crime and Security Bill, and all the other measures in it-from those on mobile telephones in prisons to those on wheel-clamping-some of which are very welcome, would never have been there. An important point that was made in Committee by me and others is that we have to be confident that whatever the Government do in the Bill will be judge-proof. I should have thought that, if anything, that would require the Government to err on the side of caution rather than go for a longer period that could mean that they end up back before the European Court.

Personally, I see no reason why anyone should be concerned about having their profile on the DNA database as long as the practice is applied broadly. I see that costs might discriminate against that, but if costs were not an issue I should not see any reason why we should not all have our DNA profiles on the database. I just do not see, from a human rights or a civil liberties point of view, why that should be a great issue. The state knows our national insurance numbers and many other details, and we now have biometric passports. In what way am I prejudiced by the state knowing that? It becomes an issue only if I think that I am being discriminated against because my data are being retained and my neighbour's are not. If I think that my information is being retained simply because I am thought to have a propensity to commit offences and because I am therefore thought less worthy than my neighbour or my colleague, of course that will encourage resentment. That point has come through in the Select Committee's report.