Under changes announced last Friday (11th), DNA profiles and fingerprints taken from people who have been arrested but never charged or convicted of a crime will be destroyed. Previously, police had powers to keep these records indefinitely. This legislation draws heavily on the recommendations made by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in the 2007 report ‘The forensic use of bioinformation: ethical issues’ which had suggested that the law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should be brought into line with Scotland, where other than in exceptional cases, DNA profiles and biological samples from a person are kept permanently on record only if they have been convicted of a recordable offence.
This post, by David O’Dwyer, doctoral student at the Centre for Criminal Justice at the University of Limerick, updates my post on Retention of DNA, and the effect of decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. There is a good piece in the Guardian about the issue: DNA profiles to be deleted from police database. And Cian Murphy has an excellent discussion of the Bill in which the DNA proposals are to be found: Protection of Freedoms Bill Published. Magna Carta Unfazed.