European court rules DNA database breaches human rights
The European Court of Human Rights ruled today that keeping a database of DNA samples of people not convicted of any crime is unlawful. As a result of the ruling, the DNA records of hundreds of thousands of people in the UK will have to be thrown out.
Police forces in much of the UK could be forced to destroy the DNA details of hundreds of thousands of people with no criminal convictions, after a court ruled today that keeping them breaches human rights.
The European court of human rights in Strasbourg said that keeping innocent people's DNA records on a criminal register breached article eight of the Human Rights Convention, covering the right to respect for private and family life.
Keeping DNA material from those who were "entitled to the presumption of innocence" as they had never been convicted of an offence carried "the risk of stigmatisation", the ruling said.
Attacking the "blanket and indiscriminate nature" of the power to retain data, the judges said protections offered by article eight "would be unacceptably weakened if the use of modern scientific techniques in the criminal justice system were allowed at any cost and without carefully balancing the potential benefits of the extensive use of such techniques against important private-life interests".