Protection of Freedoms Bill

House of Lords written question – answered on 6th December 2011.

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Photo of Lord Browne of Belmont Lord Browne of Belmont DUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have assessed how their proposals in the Protection of Freedoms Bill on the retention of the DNA of persons arrested but not charged in criminal investigations relate to the European Court of Human Rights judgment in S and Marper v United Kingdom in 2008.

Photo of Lord Henley Lord Henley The Minister of State, Home Department

The Government carefully studied the 2008 ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of S & Marper, which found that the procedures permitting the indefinite retention in England, Wales and Northern Ireland of DNA from individuals who had never been convicted of an offence were unlawful.

Chapter 1 of Part 1 of the Protection of Freedoms Bill gives effect to the court's judgment by dramatically reducing the circumstances and periods for which innocent persons' DNA and fingerprints will be retained in England and Wales. A full assessment of the compatibility of those proposals with the European Convention on Human Rights was produced by the Home Office and published on the Home Office website at

Decisions on the retention, use and destruction of biometric material taken in Northern Ireland for policing (non-counter-terrorism) purposes are within the transferred competence of the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly.

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