Shadow Immigration Minister Damian Green was highly critical of police data collection methods in a speech given to students at the University on Monday night. He stated that the police were “well on their way” to “alienating everyone in the country” with their actions on DNA collection.
“People who would unthinkingly support the police are being turned off by the methods that the police say will help to protect us all.”
The only response to this was, he suggested, that “everyone in Britain needs to become a freedom fighter.”
In an interview following the talk, he said that living in Britain is like “living in a policing-led state. It is like a frog in boiling water. We’re not in a police state yet, but the water is getting hotter. I believe that that all the things that Orwell wrote about can now happen in modern Britain.”
Green himself was arrested last year in conjunction with Home Office leaks, and had his offices and both homes searched by police, his DNA was also taken. He was however released without charge and eventually managed to get his records removed from the system.
“Idiotic,” was the term used to describe the DNA records system claiming that the number of people incorrectly stands at “850,000”. Green has been contacted by many people who were also released without charge following arrest and whose data was taken. “I have literally dozens of examples of cases where this has happened. And believe you me, DNA is not infallible.”
He said that the precautions were taken in the name of security, which made them “impossible to argue against. But in an attempt to stop terrorism, every piece of private information about you will be put on a database, and every arm of government will be able to access them.”
“People,” he added, “may have nothing to hide, but they definitely have something to fear.”
He expressed concern about the creation of the child database ‘Contact Point’, designed to identify children who are more likely to commit crimes than others. “It seems ridiculous” said Green, “but the Minority Report-style concept of a ‘pre-crime’ is alive and well.”
Green also outlined conservative policy on ID cards and taxes. He referred to the recent launch of ID cards in Manchester as “hilarious” saying “the Conservatives will scrap these immediately of we win the election, so you will have purchased nothing more than a souvenir of this government.”
On taxes he pledged that a Conservative government would reduce taxes in the long run; “over time, it will be the clear thrust of a Conservative government to reduce taxation.”