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National DNA Database

Volume 715: debated on Tuesday 1 December 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they retain the DNA and fingerprints of those detained under the Terrorism Act 2000; and, if so, for how much longer they will continue to do so. [HL202]

The police can and do retain DNA and fingerprints taken from persons detained under the Terrorism Act 2000. There is currently no limit on the length of time these can be held. We announced on 11 November that we are proposing to put a new retention framework in place for DNA and fingerprints via the new Crime and Security Bill. Our proposals include new retention timeframes for material taken under the Terrorism Act 2000.

The proposal is that such material must be deleted within six years where the material relates to a person aged 18 years or over (and samples will be destroyed within six months or as soon as the DNA sample has been profiled).

However the material may be retained beyond this six-year period where the chief officer of police determines that it is necessary to retain it for purposes of national security. In such cases the material may be retained for a period of no more than two years although this is renewable.

The policy for juveniles would be similar but would take account of the differential treatment proposed for juveniles more generally in the context of DNA retention in the Bill.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many persons not charged with a criminal offence but required to give biometric samples (a) under the Terrorism Act 2000, and (b) on being arrested, have applied to have their samples destroyed; and, in each case, how many of the applications have been accepted; and within what average length of time. [HL226]

The information requested is not available as data held on the National DNA Database (NDNAD) do not contain any information on the nature of the offence or the legislation under which the original sample was taken from which the profile on the NDNAD is derived.

We have proposed in the Crime and Security Bill currently before Parliament that all DNA samples taken from those who have been arrested, whether or not they were subsequently charged or convicted, should not be retained beyond a maximum of six months to ensure satisfactory loading of the profile taken from the sample on to the NDNAD.

On DNA profiles, currently chief officers may consider the destruction of the profile in accordance with the ACPO guidelines. We have also set out in the Bill clearly defined criteria where deletion would be appropriate before the end of the relevant proposed DNA profile retention period.