I believe that the removal of information about a person from police records when no charges have been brought should be mandatory. We are supposed to live in a country which believes in the system of "innocent until proven guilty". I speak from personal experience with regards to this matter, having been arrested as part of a huge countrywide operation carried out by the police. The matter in question related to alleged downloading of child pornography from the web. Over seven thousand people in this country alone were rounded up by the police in early morning raids to be accused of this heinous act, to be told that they were paedophiles and worse. Congratulations to the police you might say, however when looked at more closely one begins to realise that all was not as it seemed. Out of the seven thousand plus people arrested only a handful were actually charged. The rest of us it would seem were actually the victims of credit card fraud and identity theft. This conclusion was not reached lightly by the police, in fact speaking from personal experience, I was investigated for approx six months. I had my home invaded and ransacked, my computer was taken away for the six months and extensively searched (apparently they would find find all of these pictures or whatever that I had downloaded or shared, so I should just admit to it and save them the bother of looking!) Only to be told at the end of the six month period that it was actually a mistake and that my credit card details had been used without my knowledge. There was absolutely nothing at all found linking me to the crimes I was accused of and I was therefore let go with no further action being taken by the police with nothing more than a somewhat poorly given apology for the problems it caused me. The problem now though is that because I was arrested for this it now shows on my police record albeit as an NFA (no further action) but it is still there for the world to see. It will seriously hinder my chances of getting certain jobs due to CRB checking. It will also dis-allow me froom volunteering for activities in my childrens school. In effect it is restricting my whole life and being and all because of a mistake made not by myself but by an over zealous police force. I am and always have been against people who commit crimes but there is a difference between committing a crime and being accused of it. this should be taken into account with regards to police record keeping.
Why does this idea matter?
I believe my idea is important because the idea of the police holding detrimental information about people when there has been no actual crime committed is a fundamental erosion of those peoples civil liberties. Whilst I can appreciate that it may stop the odd guilty one slipping through the net when they have done wrong and gotten away with it, I personally believe that it is better to let ten guilty men walk free that to hang one innocent man. Isn't that in fact why this country got rid of the death penalty. This country is supposedly founded on justice it is one of the things that puts the "Great" in Great Britain and without it we would be no better than some of the third world countries out there. Where is the "justice" in the police keeping information about innocent people. If they are going to do that then they should hold information on every citizen in the entire country regardless of whether they have been accused of something or not. We should live in a country where we are all monitored 24 hours a day and our individual movements checked regularly.