Up to a million samples of DNA could be wiped under The Freedom Bill

The Protection of Freedoms Bill is aimed at cutting back on what many perceive as the current 'Big Brother' state of intrusion of privacy. It is the first time the voting public have had a chance to examine a Bill online and comment on its' contents.

The Protection of Freedoms Bill published on the 10th February 2011 aims to cut back on what many consider to be an intrusion of privacy and an invasion of liberty.  The Bill addresses the retention of DNA and only that of people suspected of serious offences of sex or violence will be retained and even then only for five years.  It will be some time before the deletion of these DNA samples starts as the police will not change their policy until the proposals become law.  When it does become law about one in five of the five million samples of DNA will be removed as they belong to people who have never been convicted of an offence.

The Bill also plans to look at checks on adults working with children so as to scale them back to common-sense levels. Other proposals include reducing the state's "snooping" powers, regulating CCTV cameras, making it illegal for wheel-clamping on private land, examining libel law reform and restoring rights to non-violent protest.

Police powers of stop and search will also be changed and they will no longer be able to stop and search members of the public under terror laws unless there is 'reasonable suspicion' that an atrocity will take place.

This is the coalition government's first attempt to increase transparency and is the first Bill to be put on line for the public to consider and comment upon.  Comments can be left on www.publicreadingstage.cabinetoffice.gov.uk and these comments are intended to be taken into account during the Bills passage through parliament.

As a student of law, or come to that, as a member of the public, we should perhaps take this opportunity to make our thoughts known on the contents of this Bill. There is a fine balance between protecting the public and intruding in our every day life.



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