New Labour's plans to screen young children in search of potential criminals, announced yesterday, shows that Blair and his clutch of co-thinkers have not yet completed their construction of the most comprehensively repressive state machine ever seen in Britain. Despite passing 53 law and order bills since he came to power in 1997, Blair has now put forward proposals which involve universal checks on every child to identify those who the authorities deem to be at risk of offending from the age of 11. Police will also be given the right to take DNA samples from every "suspect" with whom they are in contact. Social services and youth justice workers would "actively manage" children of prisoners, drug users and those deemed to be at high risk of offending. New Labour's plans are so blatantly dictatorial that they drew a stream of protest from readers of the Tory Daily Telegraph. Its online site hosted a stream of warnings about the lurch to a police state.
Stephen Duncan, for example, wrote: "Too much power is being put in the hands of the police. DNA from everyone 'who comes into contact with the police' can include just about everyone. ('You will be reported for doing 32 mph in a 30 zone sir, that will be 3 points and £60 sir, or 6 points if you don't give a DNA sample for our database'). Even our politicians have taken to quoting 'ACPO Rules' but ACPO is merely an association of chief police officers, and in many ways it is akin to a Trade Union, except that it thrives on effectively usurping Parliament and creating de facto legislation. The police must be brought firmly under control before we inexorably find ourselves living in a police state." And we can only agree with Alison, who wrote: "I can't believe that people aren't out on the streets protesting about this. Why do we seem to have accepted this big brother state so easily? I don't understand it. I have always thought of Britain as too sensible to allow this sort of thing. What has happened to us? It is a tragedy. The real criminals are all in government and there are no consequences other than a nice fat pension for those bastards."
Another day, another assault on our rights. Today it’s the division of the Home Office for the first time in its 225-year history. The home secretary John Reid wants to have even greater power in his new ministry for national security. It will be as sinister as it sounds, snooping on what we do, while the “Ministry of Justice” will be more about injustice, filling the jails to the rafters and making sure that all 11-year-olds are on the database.
Corinna Lotz, AWTW secretary