85% of all BC adults are in the police computer database used to track criminals. If you’re thinking it doesn’t apply to you because you’ve never been in trouble, you’d be wrong. The BC Civil Liberties Associate wrote a letter to BC Soliciter General, Shirley Bond requesting her participation in vestigating why most of BC’s law abiding citizens can be found in the PRIME-BC database.
It’s worrisome that there is no record as to how long this has been going on. Police use this database to record cvontacts with law abiding citizens, including negative contacts. It has also learned that the information in this database has resulted in some people being denied jobs they’ve applied for, refused entry into school, and been denied training. There is no process to correct information that was not properly entered into the database. BC citizens should be alarmed!
PRIME is the acronym for Police Records Information Management Environment, which was initially introduced to combat sexual offenders, career criminals, and serial killers. But it seems those with minor traffic violations can see your name joining the ranks of these criminals.
CathyTriveri, the RCMP’s divisional information manager, said a person who calls police to report a crime gets put into the PRIME system. Triveri said minor reports to police are retained for a minimum of two years but serious offences such as sexual assault are retained for up to 70 years.
Now isn’t that comforting. While I haven’t taken the step to find out if my name is in the PRIME database I’m going to guess it is since I’ve certainly been involved in reporting several crimes, and also been the victim of a threat upon my life. This information is gathered and shared with police across the province.
Tuesday night, a spokesperson for the office of the Solicitor General issued this statement:
“It is wrong to suggest that 85% of British Columbians names are entered into PRIME. In fact, many are multiple calls involving the same people. Names are retained for a minimum of two years, and privacy is maintained through federal and provincial privacy legislation. This is the same privacy standard maintained by other police forces across the country. PRIME is an important tool that is helping us to make big strides in maintaining the safety of communities throughout the province.”
If this statement doesn’t make you feel better, you’re not alone. Perhaps it’s time for you to contact the Solicitor General yourself.