You are here

Six-year limit for DNA profiles

17 November 2009

Home secretary Alan Johnson has proposed a six-year limit on the retention of DNA profiles taken from people arrested for an offence but not convicted.

However, the police will be able to retain indefinitely the profiles of anyone arrested but not convicted of a terrorist offence, subject to reviews every two years.

Johnson originally suggested in a consultation launched in May this year that there should be a separate limit for both terrorists and sexual or violent offenders of 12 years.

The indefinite retention of DNA profiles from innocent people was introduced in 2001 under an amendment to section 64 of PACE. The European Court of Human Rights ruled at the end of last year in Marper v UK (30562/04 ECHR 1581) that this breached article 8.

The Law Society, in its response to the Home Office consultation, argued that the profiles of innocent people should either be destroyed immediately or, in the case of sexual or violent offences, retained for only three years.

Announcing the government’s new approach, Johnson said the profiles of all those convicted or cautioned for an offence would continue to be held indefinitely.

He said there would be a separate retention regime for juveniles, so that only the profiles of those convicted of serious offences are held indefinitely.

Categorised in:

Procedures Police & Prisons Discrimination Commercial