European Data Protection Digest

High Court: Police Can Retain Convicts’ DNA Indefinitely

PRIVACY LAW—UK

November 15, 2012

BBC News reports on a Belfast High Court ruling that police in Northern Ireland can retain DNA samples and fingerprints of convicted offenders indefinitely. Judges rejected an argument that the retention breaches privacy rights, despite lawyers for a drunk-driving suspect who said retention decisions should be made based on the seriousness of the case. The judges said retaining such records is valuable in fighting crime. There are some 700,000 fingerprints and 123,000 DNA samples contained in a Northern Ireland database. “The retention of data serves the additional purpose of discouraging a convicted offender from re-offending,” said Lord Justice Paul Girvan.
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