14 fail to get DNA removed from database

FOURTEEN innocent people in Suffolk have failed in their bid to have their details wiped off the DNA database since records began, it has emerged.

Lizzie Parry

FOURTEEN innocent people in Suffolk have failed in their bid to have their details wiped off the DNA database since records began, it has emerged.

There are currently 52,000 records relating to Suffolk samples on the national database and, since the start of Suffolk police's records in 2006, 17 innocent people have applied to have their details removed.

The figures, obtained by the EADT after a Freedom of Information request, reveal in that time only three people have been successful.

In December 2008, a European court found indiscriminate retention of DNA profiles and fingerprints of people arrested, but never convicted, was a breach of their rights.

Since then, the two people in Suffolk who have applied to remove their details have been successful.

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Those on the database include cases of wrongful arrest, mistaken identity or false allegations. In order to be removed, individuals must provide evidence of exceptional circumstances.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said an example of an exceptional case might be where the original arrest or data sampling was found to be unlawful; stressing each case is judged on a case-by-case basis.

She said: “In line with strict national guidelines, any individual wishing to request the deletion of DNA records from the Police National Computer (PNC) is requested to apply in writing to the relevant Chief Constable of the Constabulary.

“Chief Officers have the discretion to authorise the deletion of any specific data entry, such as DNA records and fingerprints, on the PNC data 'owned' by them, when they are considered to be 'exceptional cases'.

“Suffolk Constabulary will deal with any application for the deletion of a PNC data entry on an individual basis and in line with strict government legislation.

“Proposals for changes in the law governing DNA retention are soon to be considered by the Government.

“Should changes in legislation occur as a result of this, Suffolk Constabulary will adapt its procedure to comply.”