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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

December 17, 2008: Crime & DNA: Home Secretary

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has called for new 'common sense standards' for the use of investigatory powers and the retention of DNA profiles. In a speech to the Intellect Trade Association, she said she wants to strengthen how the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) is used, and how and when DNA profiles are retained as part of a national database.

Ms Smith said the process would get underway with a series of consultations early in the new year on these controversial topics. The Home Secretary said:

'While the vast majority of the investigations carried out under RIPA are important – like protecting the public from dodgy traders, trapping fly tippers who dump tonnes of rubbish on an industrial scale across the countryside, or tackling the misery caused by noisy and disruptive neighbours – there are clearly cases where these powers should not be used. I don’t want to see these powers being used to target people for putting their bins out on the wrong day, for dog fouling offences, or to check whether paper boys are carrying sacks that are too heavy.'

A consultation on the use of RIPA will examine:

  • the codes of practice behind RIPA
  • which public authorities can use RIPA powers
  • how those powers are approved in each case, and who can authorise their use

Ms Smith also plans to consult on how to ensure that RIPA powers meet tests of safeguards, openness, proportionality and common sense. She said:

'The public is our best defence against crime and terrorism. But I know people will not thank us if the systems we design to protect them are too intrusive.'

Discussing the issues surrounding the government's use of DNA, she said they must think carefully about how long to keep DNA evidence, and whose DNA to keep. She added taht  the use of DNA in police investigations has been:

'... one of the breakthroughs for modern policing. 'It’s an area where I’m proud to say that Britain is leading the world. However, the strengths of the DNA database can only be safeguarded if they enjoy the confidence and trust of the public.'

Currently, DNA evidence is being stored on people regardless of whether or not they were ultimately convicted of a crime.

Consultations in coming months will look at many issues surrounding DNA, including:

  • whether the rules on DNA should tie into the seriousness of the crime committed, and possibly the age of the offender
  • whether the rules on retaining DNA samples need to change
  • whether police can retrospectively take samples after conviction
  • whether police can take samples from people convicted of crimes overseas

Some actions will be taken soon: the Home Secretary will take immediate steps to remove the DNA of children younger than 10 from the database.

The proposed changes will be designed to produce a more proportionate, fair and common sense approach to storing DNA.