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Peter Tatchell: More gay men are being forced to give police their DNA

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  1. I just hope this draws some attention to the real scandal of ‘indecency’ convictions on thousands of gay men’s criminal records. And if more people learn about how police state-ish DNA databases are too, that will be good.

    1. There is nothing police stateist about a DNA database. Unless you think the finger print database is also police stateist?

      1. I think it IS, when the finger prints are collected without good reason.

    2. Philip Breen 18 Jan 2013, 7:00pm

      Yes El Gabal. The disclosure of ‘old gay criminal offences’ on people’s records & particularly on ECRB certificates is a scandal. Furthermore, unless the government ‘expunges’, ‘disregards’ or put in place a sensible filtering mechanism for old gay convictions, gross indecency, soliciting etc, DBS disclosures (modern CRB checks) mean gay men’s lives with their economic prospects are permanently ruined & all because of gay sex. In this economic crisis and in a society where homophobia is not accepted, I can’t see why the government hangs on to all of this & won’t address this anomaly as a matter of urgency to encourage gay men to live their lives without the burdens of convictions that wouldn’t happen now. The tentative & inadequate gesture of Theresa May last October 1st shows one way forward for getting rid of the disclosure of other repealed, spent & irrelevant gay crimes. It is time all of this was dealt with because, as things are, the system is indiscriminately unfair & cruel.

      1. “in a society where homophobia is not accepted”

        I’m sure you meant to say “in this homophobic society where homosexuality is not accepted”

        Good posting!

  2. Im american ,22, new york. I could not imagine my country giving police the right to stick a needle in your arm to put you in a data base. Thats my blood the only one who has access to it is a doctor to check for health concerns with my approval. Put it this way in American politics emotions, principal, and paranoia are high. Because giving more power to an institution vs the citizens gives people to have unethical license to have a power over you, next they can ask women with an extensive criminal record to be sterilized or men as well, because their eggs or sperm could create on offspring that UK society does not need. But who’s right is that? Not the goverment or Police.

    1. I think DNA samples are taken with a mouth swab.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 18 Jan 2013, 5:18pm

        Yest, twitless, at least in the UK where DNA forensic science was invented and used by most of the industrialised world’s police forces.

        Of the 12,000 people supposedly to be tested, I assume the majority are straight?

        Adrian, I really don’t think this is a slippery slope to sterilising recidivist criminals. It’s similar to the paranoia in America in regard to CCTV throughout the UK. The majority of us go about our business unaffected by it. If you’re not a criminal and have no intention of committing a crime, then there shouldn’t be any cause for concern or worry. I’m glad we have it because it has been successful in some cases capturing violent criminals and a far lower violent crime rate than America.

        I’m quite suret this latest relevation in regard to DNA testing will be handled and dealt with the government and police force accordingly.

        1. Not having a DNA database is not why we have a higher crime rate, I looked it up U.S. does have a DNA data base. We have 5 times your population meaning more likely to have more crimes of any kind, and we have shitty gun control. Just saying a man arrested having gay sex 30 years ago and still on file is a joke. This could hurt him, here when applying for a job companies or business can see if you have a record but unlike yours it gets cleared after a year or so depending on sentencing. Good Luck :)

          1. Robert in S. Kensington 18 Jan 2013, 9:07pm

            I never said not having a DNA database is not why America has a higher crime rate. What I was referring to was CCTV in the UK which is partly responsible for the reduction in violent crime and crime as a whole. We don’t have a gun culture for starters, hence less violent crimes committed.

            Crimes of moral turpitude (including sex crimes) in your country, provided they are accompanied by probation in the sentencing can in some instances be expunged according to the state in which the felon resides. Otherwise, they remain on record for life

        2. But, Robert, it’s only likely to be dealt with because of Peter Tatchell’s efforts on behalf of those affected, and this article is the second I’ve seen on the issue and both have appeared in PinkNews. Is this matter being discussed in mainstream newspapers and mainstream media? I haven’t observed such. So I wouldn’t put such faith in this matter being put right unless we kick up stink.

      2. lol. I must of missed that part. hahaha, but either way still wrong.

    2. That’s because they don’t.

      And I’ll thank Americans not to lecture us on freedom. Deluded!

      1. WOW i was not even disrespecting or lecturing on my “FREEDOM”, or insulting your. Nice job taking my words out of context.

  3. Christine Beckett 18 Jan 2013, 5:09pm

    This is more than a bit worrying.

  4. This be of concern to all be they gay or straight it seem that if the police want DNA they can come and get it – I will certainly be contacting my MP about this situation.

  5. Stephen Close 18 Jan 2013, 7:37pm

    I would like to thank Peter Tatchell for his support and informing the world of my problem, without his support and advice I don’t think I would have had the courage to carry it on. At times when I felt low with the pressure of this campaign, the lack of sleep and the constant telephone interviews with journalists I would conceder giving up the struggle. Then Peter would telephone or email me the latest updates, which gave me the confidence to carry on. The overwhelming support and encouragement I have received from family, friends and strangers has touched my heart
    Stephen Close

    1. Philip Breen 18 Jan 2013, 8:06pm

      Your story touches our hearts because you have suffered and because it illustrates what the government has not wanted to address. Few countries cope well with data that shows the police are not getting it right. I wish you all the very best for the future and hope that you will help others who suffer because of other legally accepted aspects of homophobic legislature. Take care of yourself and stay well. It is good Peter Tatchell was able to help. Thousands of people stand alongside you in support of you, if only you knew.

  6. Peter, this issue ought to be escalated to the Home Secretary. And now that Amanda Cooper has furnished you with a response, you have something that can be forwarded to the Home Secretary, because you are able to say something like, “Look, as an example, the lead officer of Thames Valley Police, has said certain sexual offences are exempt from DNA-collection, but we have evidence that such exemptions are being IGNORED by police! Please instruct all lead officers throughout the country to cease this behaviour immediately”.

  7. GulliverUK 19 Jan 2013, 1:03pm

    As for the wiping of past convictions a friend applied to have his wiped and was rejected, the Home Office gave no information or reason as to why, saying that it didn’t fall in to the category of those offences covered. His crime was that he was targeted by a ‘pretty’ policeman in a public toilet and took the bait, although no sexual activity occurred. So I suspect that the whole … we’ll wipe your previous consensual sexual conviction … is nothing more than a smokescreen, and I suspect we’ll get evidence of this building up over the next 12 months. This will paint the Tories, who brought this in, as lairs and attempting to deceive the gay community. I got him to put in his request the day after the new law came in and they took the full and complete time allocated before responding just the other week. The use of agent provocateurs was scandalous.

    1. GulliverUK 19 Jan 2013, 1:26pm

      But it is also the same in other countries;

      AU: shameful witchhunts of past decades still blight the lives of some older gay men by unfair convictions
      http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/gay-men-haunted-by-old-convictions-20130106-2cbed.html

      The Stonewall advise included “People convicted or cautioned for frequenting with intent (commonly known as loitering with intent)”
      http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_home/hate_crime_domestic_violence_and_criminal_law/8064.asp

      it seems this doesn’t cover importuning, which is scurrilous since it was the police office who intentionally and deliberately acted to provoke the situation with the sole purpose of harassing gay men.

      What this means is that a CRB check comes back “No Live Trace” — which is absolutely not the same as “Noting recorded” or “No records found” or “No trace”. An employer is likely to ask what the matter is that is now, not live but there nonetheless.

    2. You’re suggesting that the DNA-collecting that’s recently been going on shows that the government’s legislation re. wiping clean the slates of people prosecuted for victimless crimes related to sexual offences is a complete charade . . . and that is, indeed, very worrying.

      It rather parallels what’s been going on in the past six months throughout the UK. That is, we have had 12 years of fine pro-gay legislation, but reaction to the campaign for Marriage Equality has shown us that utter hatred of homosexual people is still widespread in the UK.

      Similarly, one piece of pro-gay legislation, the wiping of certain “criminal” records, appears also to have been without real effect.

      We have serious reason to be worried. We have to insist that all the legislation that has been passed in our favour is not merely window-dressing.

  8. This is so shocking that when I first read about this I thought it must be some sort of mistake, this surely couldn’t really be happening.

  9. In Kent, this was rushed to Police, incl the new Crime Comm, last week. It was raised at the Independent Advisory Groups.
    Kent Police rushed out an internal statement saying that they would NOT be taking DNA samples from gay men with prev’ indecency. However, apparently one such case has come to light in Essex and so the contacts are being continued.
    One question has been why no prior consultation-esp on these ‘minor’ offences wasn’t held with local gay comm reps.
    Perhaps police have a point in prior serious convictions, (fear crims will disappear if alerted), but indecency/cottaging etc could have been headed off before it got to sledghammer to crack ‘nutmeg’ stage.

  10. Abused by police 20 Jan 2013, 3:45pm

    The gay community needs to learn the lesson that ‘NO’ police officer is honest & trustworthy ‘if’ you are gay.

    None, zilch, nil, not a single one of them!

    The police have spent the last few years convincing the ‘quite frankly’ niave in the gay population who desperetly want to believe the police are honourable & trustworthy, that police have changed their leopard spots since the Macpherson enquiry highlighted the police were institutionally Racist & Homophobic.

    The police have not changed, the benchmark of racist & homophobic attitudes & practises still remains
    Nothing has changed other than police PR & spin as UK police as an organisation are still institutionally Racist & Homophobic, the problem is endemic, but gay victims often ostracised & shunned by LGBT organisations influenced & infiltrated by police & their ‘ever so humble’ Uriah Heap like sycophantic lackeys.

    1. GulliverUK 20 Jan 2013, 4:45pm

      I don’t agree that none of them can be trusted, not at all. BUT, if you’re had a bad experience with one, or know someone whose had a bad experience, it is quite natural to believe it is too dangerous to trust any of them. My own experience is that some police officers are entirely corrupt.

      And clearly from the story I relayed above, the notion that they are willing to wipe the slate clean, given that a ‘pretty’ policeman deliberately enticed my friend in a public toilet, then arrested him for soliciting, causing him to have a conviction on his record, and the fact the home office refuse to wipe this clear — although no sexual act took place — just shows this initiative which was hailed as historical — is just paper-thin and meaningless. If he had been caught in the act of sex with another man in a park he would have had more of a chance of removing this offence.

      I have good reason to distrust the police and that is persistent and I don’t think it will ever go away.

      1. Abused by police 20 Jan 2013, 5:33pm

        @GulliverUK. My experience of dishonest, corrupt & homophobic police officers is far from confined to just one. It encoupases various ‘named’ officers within CID, several ‘named’ inspectors, a number of sargents, various at Constabulary HQ, local custody officers, the BCU, the COG, the diversity unit, several in the PSD, a few that have retired…and two CC’s & a former acting CC.

        …and thats excluding a copper who sexually abused me as a kid (6yr old child rape) which has been reported (even recorded on video victim/witness interview), but entirely covered up by police.

        There is simply is ‘NO’ such thing as an honest & trustworthy copper!

  11. Abused by police 23 Jan 2013, 8:34pm

    I did raise this issue on the new Police Crime Commissioner for Devon & Cornwall Constabulary discussion forum as a matter of concern regarding police targeting gay men for their DNA

    ….I was then been BANNED from any further postings on the PCC forum. Lol.

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