Keeping information on police databases - confronting a dilemma

Soothill, K and Francis, B (2009) Keeping information on police databases - confronting a dilemma. Criminal Law and Justice Weekly, 173 (n/a). n/a-n/a. ISSN 1759-7943

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The consultation period for the Home Office's controversial proposals for keeping innocent people on the DNA database has recently ended (see, Keeping the Right People on the DNA Database: Science and Public Protection). It is difficult to hazard a guess as to the Government's likely reaction to the large number of responses that have been made. Certainly there is no doubt that the Government is in a serious dilemma which stemmed from the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) delivered on December 4, 2008 (S and Marper v. The United Kingdom (App Nos.30562/04 and 30566/04)). The unanimous decision by 17 Judges produced the uncomfortable verdict that the blanket policy in England and Wales of retaining indefinitely the fingerprints and DNA of all people who had been arrested but not convicted was in breach of art.8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. While the court did concede that the retention of the fingerprint and DNA data “pursues the legitimate purpose of the detection, and therefore, prevention of crime”, the question still remains whether the Home Office proposals have seriously addressed the ECtHR's concerns. Beatson J, in a very pertinent valedictory address as President of the British Academy of Forensic Science, given on June 16, 2009 at the Inner Temple, suggests that there is much more research to do. Our own concerns have focused more specifically on the scientific claims supposedly underpinning the proposals.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: 4. Qualitative Data Handling and Data Analysis > 4.23 Qualitative Approaches (other)
Depositing User: L-W-S user
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2010 15:04
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2021 13:50

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