Retention of peoples DNA records by police banned in EuropeDecember 5th, 2008 - 3:29 pm ICT by ANI
London, Dec 5 (ANI): The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled in a landmark verdict that the retention of innocent peoples DNA and fingerprint records by police is illegal.
According to a report in The Independent, the unanimous judgment by the Strasbourg court in France condemned the blanket and indiscriminate nature of powers given to police in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in collecting and storing DNA and fingerprint evidence of suspects.
But, the British Government has not immediately said it will comply with the ruling by bringing in laws that would destroy nearly a million DNA samples taken from suspects who have been exonerated by the police and courts.
Instead, the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, said she was disappointed by the judgment and confirmed the law would remain unchanged while ministers consider what, if any, action, to take.
It is a well established convention that United Kingdom governments comply with ECHR rulings.
If the Government does not accept the new judgment, it could provoke a constitutional crisis between ministers and judges in Strasbourg, who act as the final court of appeal for human rights laws across Europe.
Human rights groups have welcomed the judgment and called for the British Government to follow Scotland where police routinely destroy profiles of those either acquitted or not charged.
The ruling could have important implications for fingerprint databases. According to the judges, holding innocent peoples details could infringe their rights. (ANI)
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