DNA database developments in the UK
Following the European Court of Human Rights decision in the Marper case, the UK have been required to reconsider their approach to the holding of profiles on the DNA Database. The system which the ECHR rejected involved the indefinite holding of samples from suspects of crimes, unless authorisation for destruction was granted, which it rarely was. The previous UK plans, discussed here, proposed retention of samples for up to six years, without any limitations to serious offences.
It has been announced today that the Home Affairs Select Committee has rejected these proposals, arguing that there is no need to keep samples for more than three years, particularly when consideration is given to the low number of cases in which such DNA evidence is probative. This Committee states a maximum of three years should apply. The House of Commons will vote on the government proposals today and the Guardian reports that the House of Lords is expected to reject the proposals. It is also expected that a new agency will be established to determine when samples should be destroyed, removing this power from Chief Constables.
Again, given the on-going debates in Ireland, these debates will be watched intensly here.