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Protection of Freedoms Bill

Part of Resource Extraction (Transparency and Reporting) – in the House of Commons at 8:58 pm on 1st March 2011.

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Photo of David Davies David Davies Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee 8:58 pm, 1st March 2011

I would be delighted. I believe the hon. Gentleman said that every time that baroness’s son-in-law set foot on the streets of London, he was stopped and searched. The first thing that I would ask him would be, “Did you ask for the copies of the pink slips that have to be lodged every time you are stopped and searched?” If he was stopped and searched there will be a record of it, and we should be able to prove whether that happened every time he set foot on the streets of London. I look forward to pursuing the matter.

The issue of previous criminal records brings me to that of DNA, on which I have some sympathy with Opposition Members. I do not think that there was anything fundamentally wrong in collecting people’s DNA. I have done it myself, and I will be quite honest in saying that I am not sure that the Government have got it right. I asked the Home Secretary earlier whether she accepted that, as a result of the change, people who had committed crimes would be able to get away with it. She said that that was not true. I have the utmost respect for her, but I am very direct and I must say that I do not believe that and cannot accept it.

We see in the Bill that the Government have decided that anyone who is arrested for specific types of offences—terrorism, drugs, violence, rape and that sort of thing—will have their DNA kept indefinitely if they have a previous recorded offence. The Government recognise that keeping people’s DNA is useful when they have been arrested for offences such as murder, rape, violence or terrorism even if they are not convicted, which I welcome. However, it surely follows, therefore, that DNA can also be useful in respect of less serious offences, such as burglary or taking a vehicle without consent. We should make it clear to members of the public that we are increasing their rights and liberties, but that there is a cost—that is obvious, and we should be honest about it. One cost is that some burglars and car thieves will not be caught.