Picture this

IssueApril 2009
News by David Polden

On every demonstration we are subject to being photographed by the police – presumably to add to the vast database the government holds on us – on a level constituting harassment. But as of 16 February, we may risk 10 years inside if we dare to photograph them!

That was the day when section 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 came into effect, under which eliciting, publishing or communicating information on members of the armed forces, intelligence services and police officers which is “likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism” is an offence carrying a maximum jail term of 10 years.

A small remembrance

Under section 110 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, all offences are now arrestable, so any police officer in England and Wales is entitled to arrest, (ie physically detain, handcuff and take to a police station for a DNA sample), any person, for any offence, no matter how trivial.

DNA details of no fewer than 4.5m people were on the police database as of 4 December, the same day the European Court of Human Rights unanimously ruled that holding records on such a wide basis was in violation of Article 8 – the right to respect for private and family life – of the European Convention on Human Rights.