How Soham could shape privacy laws

The infamy of the Soham murders and the need to protect the pair from vengeance will see to that. But the more immediate concern for the government is how to respond to the Bichard Inquiry’s report into how police checks failed to prevent Ian Huntley getting a job at a school. Its findings will land shortly on the Home Secretary’s desk. The inquiry’s evidence-taking sessions revealed a mish-mash of different practices of collecting and holding data in the 43 police forces of England and Wales. As such, it can be assumed that Bichard will recommend one standardised approach for the retention of criminal records. This is likely to be enshrined in a statutory code of practice. But who will draw up such a code? If it is the Home Secretary, who, after all, is responsible for police matters, can we expect him to be even-handed between the police desire to retain data to solve crime and the individual’s right to privacy? ….

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