House of Lords
Lord Avebury (Liberal Democrat)
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many persons have had their biometric data taken by Counter Terrorism Command under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000; how many of those have applied to the chief police officer of the force which took the data under the exceptional case procedure for their samples to be destroyed; how many of those applications have been successful; and what was the average length of time between the first request to have the data destroyed and notification to the applicant or his representative that the data have been destroyed.
Lord West of Spithead (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office; Labour)
The powers of examination contained in Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 are an important tool in countering terrorism. Terrorists often need to travel across borders to plan, prepare and initiate their acts and these powers are essential in helping to identify those individuals. The powers within Schedule 7 allow officers to take biometric material in order to determine if someone is, or has been, involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.
Nationally, from the introduction of the Terrorism Act up to
ECHR 1581, and following pubic consultation in May 2009, the Government laid the Crime and Security Bill before Parliament. It contains provisions that would establish a clear statutory framework for the retention, destruction and use of biometric material, including DNA samples, DNA profiles and fingerprints. They strike a proper balance between protecting the pubic from the threat posed by terrorism and other threats to national security and upholding individuals' rights and liberties.
Furthermore, the powers contained in Schedule 7 are kept under scrutiny by the noble Lord Carlile of Berriew, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation. He has regularly reviewed and made recommendations as to the use of these powers but has consistently found the powers to be necessary and proportionate.