Multiple crime victims have found themselves on the wrong side of a police investigation when authorities have used their power not only to prosecute the perpetrators but to meddle in the victim’s life affairs as well. With the excuse of avoiding a mistrial, British police insist on asking for digital disclosure -handing over computers, phones, and passwords- to the victims.

This absurd process becomes even worse for immigrants without a full grasp of the English language that grants the police unlimited access to their private data without fully understanding what this “digital strip search” might entail.

The police are not quick about their victim investigation either. Once the victims have -in desperation- given away their phones and computers, the authorities have no rush in returning the private property to the citizens. This leaves a person without the means to communicate after a critical moment in their life where they need help the most.

Instead of launching a criminal investigation alone, the police are looking into the lives of the people they should protect. Victims in Britain are abused twice in a crime, once by a criminal and once by the authorities that are supposed to fight crime.

No victims are an exception. Multiple reports have shown that victims of one of the worst crimes imaginable -rape- have been asked to surrender their data to the authorities as well. What the police won’t tell you is that they might use what they find to stop the investigation altogether. Information about a victim partying, using dating apps or drinking alcohol have all been used by prosecutors to drop a case. Even though the victims might surrender their private life information in hopes of justice being served, they are left hopeless and alone by the authorities.

Another shocking surprise comes from the genesis of the process. This is not being used by a small pool of police officers that might face prosecution for wrongdoing. The procedure is the result of policy created and made mandatory by the Crown Prosecution Service. The government is the one asking the police to collect your data after you become the victim of a crime.

This absurd turn of events puts the Justice System on its head. Instead of aiding its citizens and removing the threats of criminals from society, the government has decided it is better to act as a criminal turning you into a hostage and holding your entire private information as ransom.

In doing so, the government has shown that it does not care about its citizens’ safety. They prefer to control, no matter the cost. Once they have your private data it is not stipulated that they will delete it after the criminal investigation is over. Are they, perhaps, storing it somewhere just in case?

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