U-turn again 4

Helen Gibson writes in Progress magazine:

One of the first coalition policies to be announced in 2010 was a plan to grant anonymity to men accused of committing rape. This had not been a policy in either the Tory of Liberal Democrat manifesto, and yet appeared to be cooked up by the cabal of eight white men who drew up the coalition agreement. Mercifully, with a lot of lobbying from women MPs and women’s organisations the plans were dropped. Women do not seem to be safe however, as, month after month, new proposals are introduced which threaten to turn back the clock on women’s rights, and even our safety, with alarming consequences.

The latest announcement is that the government will force police to stop holding the DNA of those arrested for rape, but not charged. The naive presumption, one assumes, is that the government believes if you are not charged you are therefore not guilty. However, Ed Miliband highlighted at PMQs this week, that of the 5,000 every year who are arrested but not charged, many of them go on to reoffend, only being caught because their DNA is stored on the national database. Given the disgracefully low rape attrition and conviction rates in this country, nothing must be done that limits or decreases the numbers of men being convicted and sent to prison. The government’s policy would do precisely that.