Some rather strange evidence given by Meg Hillier MP to the Home Affairs Committee last Tuesday at the ID Cards session. See if you can spot the problem with these answers:
Q81 Ms Buck: Is it (DNA) also taken from minors who are arrested?
Meg Hillier: Yes, minors are held on it. Again, parents have to give permission, but if a child is arrested and convicted, then that information is taken.
Q82 Ms Buck: If they are arrested and not charged or convicted, is it taken?
Meg Hillier: It is taken, but there has to be parental consent, and I have actually asked that the consent forms are looked at in terms of their design to see that it is very clear that people know what they are signing up to.
And the problem? It’s nonsense. Parental consent is not necessary – in fact no consent at all is necessary: if you don’t co-operate by giving a DNA sample, the police will simply pull some of your hair out by the roots. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 says they can, and they will.
‘Consent forms’ for DNA sampling when you’re arrested? It isn’t a matter you can ‘consent’ to – and everyone is treated exactly the same, regardless of whether they’re 10 or 100. We know that because we asked every police force in the country just a few months ago.
Does the Home Office actually read the laws it makes?