Fri, 28 Nov 2008

Damian Green's data now owned by the police

From theory to personal experience in a week.

As reported on this blog, only a week ago in a Commons debate on the Counter Terrorism Bill, shadow immigration officer Damian Green when summing up the DNA retention guidelines expressed: 'It is interesting that when a person's data are entered on to the PNC, they are owned by the police.' Damian Green was arrested yesterday as part of a police investigation into official information leaks from the Home Office, apparently by counter-terrorism police "on suspicion of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office and aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring misconduct in a public office." Nothing to do with terrorism.

The Met released the following statement:

The investigation into the alleged leak of confidential government material followed the receipt by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) of a complaint from the Cabinet Office.

The decision to make today's arrest was taken solely by the MPS without any ministerial knowledge or approval."

And Damian Green today read:

I was astonished to have spent more than nine hours today under arrest for doing my job.

I emphatically deny I have done anything wrong.

I have many times made public information that the government wanted to keep secret, information that the public has a right to know.

In a democracy, opposition politicians have a duty to hold the Government to account. I was elected to the House of Commons precisely to do that and I certainly intend to continue doing so.

Such a police raid on an opposition MP is unprecedented in the UK. It has not been said whether he had DNA samples (and fingerprints, palm prints and mug shots) taken when he was processed.

UPDATE: Statement released on Home Office leaks by the Permanent Secretary, David Normington. (via Marc Vallee)

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