There is a very dangerous proposal in the Crime and Security Bill which if approved, would seriously criminalise the entire Black Community in the UK.
The Government is pushing for approval of the measure to allow the police to continue to store DNA of innocent people on the national criminal database for up to six years. Two years ago, the European Court ruled that the retention of innocent people’s DNA on the criminal database violates Article 8 of the Human Rights Act. It is, however, not clear why the Government still insists on approving this measure.
The fact that 77% of young black men are profiled on the DNA database should make the black community members take this debate seriously. Furthermore, 47% of black men over 35 years of age and 23% of black children between the ages of 10 and 16 compared with 10% of white children are currently on this system. This basically means that almost the entire Black Community will be treated as suspect in any future crime.
Ms. Matilda MacAttram, Director of Black Mental Health UK is right when she says that “To allow police officers to continue to collect and retain the DNA of innocent people will not foster good community relations. The only people who should be on a criminal database are convicted criminals.” Mr. Frederick Clarke, Director of Mighty Men of Valour is also right when he says: “The proposals in this Bill are not welcome. If someone from our community comes in contact with the police it could turn into a sentence for life, because who knows what can happen within six years. Young people need to know that if they have any brush with the police, it could lead to them being on the database for over six years, just based on suspicion. These proposals show that these are dangerous times for our communities and do not foster trust.”
The entire Black Community in the UK should strongly come up and openly reject this measure. We can’t afford to remain quiet while such an unjust policy is about to be approved. If we choose to be inactive and let the Government approve the Crime and Security Bill with the measure allowing the police to retain innocent people’s DNA for up to six years, we will be betraying ourselves and our future generations. We will also be showing that unjust policies against us can be approved and implemented without the slightest resistance from our community.
A way of showing we reject this measure is by signing the new 10 Downing Street petition launched by the human rights group, Black Mental Health UK, with the backing of several community organizations and leaders.
The AfroNews fully supports the campaign against this unjust measure. Let’s sign the petition and invite as many people as possible to also do so.
We welcome all who would like to publicly say something about this measure. Please send us your views using this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a