Monday, 21 May 2007

Government Plans to Profile "Potential" Criminals and Victims

Home Office plans reveal that council staff, charity workers and doctors among others will be obligated to inform police of any person they believe MAY commit a violent crime.

The leaked Home Office document states, "Public bodies will have access to valuable information about people at risk of becoming either perpetrators or victims of serious violence. Professionals will obviously alert police or other relevant authority if they have good reason to believe an act of serious violence is about to be committed. However, our proposal goes beyond that, and is that, when they become sufficiently concerned about an individual, they must consider initial risk assessment of risk to/from that person and refer (the) case to (a) multi-agency body."

Under the plan two agencies would be formed, one for potential criminals, and the other for potential victims. The plan suggests that these bodies could share information received and carry out "full risk assessments".

Danger signs of potential criminals could include a violent family background, heavy drinking or mental health problems, while potential victims may seek treatment for stress from their GP.

If this plan succeeds children who, through no fault of their own, have been raised in a violent family could be profiled as potential criminals. Millions of people who have grown up in adverse conditions as well as those who have mild mental health problems function successfully in society without EVER committing a crime. Further to that, if someone seeks counseling for stress it does not necessarily mean they are a potential victim of a crime. If this is allowed to continued both assumptions being made by the government could be self-fulfilling. A person who is not a criminal but, because of his background, is treated as such may as a result become a criminal. This government is going too far. If you have not watched the movie Minority Report, go rent it. It is not the best movie but, although fictional and far-fetched, it shows an exaggerated version the results of profiling "potential" criminals.

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