Reality checking the reality check…

Many thanks to Aaron Martin of the London School of Economics (LSE), for pointing me to the BBC site, where Daniel Sandford (Home Affairs Correspondent) offers a “Reality Check” on Labour and Conservative approaches to CCTV surveillance and DNA retention. Unfortunately, the section on DNA retention is rather undermined by the strange decision to omit any mention of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling in the case of UK vs S and Marper.

Whatever the preferences of the police and the political parties, they will have to be tempered by the fact that the present government has already suffered a damning and unanimous defeat in the European Court of Human Rights over its DNA retention policy.

That judgement – handed down in November 2008, by the way – criticised the the ‘blanket’ and ‘disproportionate’ nature of the government’s actions in forthright language. A year later, in November 2009, the government’s position still had not shifted enough to convince the ECHR that it was compliant. Arguably, even now, the government has yet to comply with the ruling – we just haven’t had any test cases to see whether the ECHR agrees. Yet.

For background, if you’re interested, here is a link to my analysis of how things stood in November 2009, and then in December.