http://www.genewatch.org/uploads/f03c6d ... omBill.pdfProtection of Freedoms Bill
Second Reading: Parliamentary Briefing
GeneWatch UK has consistently argued that new legislation governing the DNA Database could be adopted which significantly improves protection for human rights, is compliant with the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment on this issue1, regains much of the loss of public trust in policing, and does not have an adverse impact on crime detection or prevention.
GeneWatch welcomes the introduction of the Protection of Freedoms Bill as a significant step towards achieving this aim.
This briefing outlines a number of amendments that would improve the Bill.
GeneWatch’s main recommendation is that Police National Database (Police National Computer) records and photographs should be deleted at the same time as DNA database records and fingerprints.
In addition, we would like to see further restrictions on the retention of data from persons given cautions, reprimands, warnings or convictions for a single minor offence; and some improvements to the other proposed safeguards.
As far as GeneWatch is aware, after ten years’ retention of innocent people’s DNA records, no murder cases have been identified that would not have been solved had such records been deleted from the database. Provided DNA evidence from crime scenes is analysed promptly, the handful of relevant rape cases would be captured by the temporary retention of records from persons arrested and/or charged with qualifying offences as proposed in the Bill.
Innocent people’s police records used to be removed after 42 days: those with cautions after 5 years; and those with single convictions for minor offences after ten. By 2006, these guidelines had been abandoned in favour of retention of all PNC records, from everyone arrested for any recordable offence, to age 100. The change was made as a matter of ACPO policy and never debated by parliament. The justification provided at the time was that the police needed to retain PNC records to see whether or not they had already taken a DNA sample from an arrested individual, and to help them track an individual down in the event of a DNA match. This no longer applies if new legislation requires a person’s record on the DNA database to be deleted.