Wednesday, 17 March 2010

DNA drivel...

It took me a while to work out what this Guardian piece about Government plans for the DNA database was getting at.

That usually means the hack has approached the story from an obscure angle – one that wouldn’t naturally occur.

In a typically engaging Guardian intro it reads…

The Home Secretary Alan Johnson may sacrifice his controversial proposal for the police to store innocent people’s DNA for up to six years in order to get his crime and security bill on to the statute book before the general election.

Use of the word ‘sacrifice’ suggests Johnson is giving up something he really wanted in order to pass the rest of the bill.

Of course that is not the case. In fact currently the police can hold innocent people’s DNA forever and that is the way they, and the Government like it.

Johnson was forced to introduce plans to limit the period police can hold innocent people’s DNA to six years because the European Court said the current situation breached human rights.

So from Johnson’s point of view he is not sacrificing anything. He wants to delay bringing in a limit, because he believes innocent people’s DNA should be kept on the database. The top line should be…

Alan Johnson is planning to defy European law by allowing police to continue indefinitely holding innocent people’s DNA on the UK’s national database.

Or if the Guardian hack wanted something more wordy and cerebral sounding (you know how they are)…

Alan Johnson will delay plans to limit the time that the police can hold innocent people’s DNA on the UK’s national database – leaving it in contravention of European law.

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