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Police: Databases

Volume 698: debated on Thursday 31 January 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether an adult may request the deletion of bioinformation stored in connection with an offence with which he or she was connected as a minor. [HL1516]

Bioinformation is understood to refer to DNA samples, DNA profiles derived from the samples, and fingerprint records. The police have the power to take and retain indefinitely bioinformation of these types from persons arrested for a recordable offence. Individuals may request the destruction or deletion of bioinformation whether or not they were under 18 at the time of the arrest in relation to which the bioinformation was taken.

The decision on whether to agree to a request from an individual to have their DNA profile removed from the National DNA Database lies with the chief officer of the force which took the sample. The Association of Chief Police Officers issued guidance to chief officers on the consideration of applications for removal at the end of January 2006. The then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Andy Burnham, made a Written Ministerial Statement on the guidance on 16 February 2006 (Official Report, col. 117WS) and placed it in the Library. The guidance makes it clear that it is expected that DNA profiles which have been taken lawfully will be removed in exceptional cases only.

ACPO has tasked a specialist unit within Hampshire Constabulary (known as ACPO Criminal Record Office) to assist chief officers in arriving at a decision, by providing examples of how requests have been dealt with in other forces and offering advice. However, the final decision rests with chief officers.