DNA Rention Limits – More of the Same

The Home Office is due to formally  state that their plan is to maintain the DNA data, of innocent people, for 6 years.

This is, of course, a lot longer than the zero time of many other countries and the UK less than a decade ago, but still a lot less than the previous policy of “forever”.

This statement now follows on from the previous statement in May 2009 by the government of the intention to retain the data fro 12 and 6 years, depending on the offense.

For those not acquainted with the reasons behind this change in the law this is due to the S and Marper V United Kingdom test cases in the ECHR, where they challenged, successfully the UK law on detaining, indefinitely the DNA samples of innocent.




DNA: S and Marper – Governments decision

In 2004 the UK government changed the law on DNA collection, and retention, to allow the police to take DNA from people who have not been charged, i.e. innocent poeople

Following this there was a test case, brough by two individuals, “S” and “Marper”, resulting in a case that went all the way to the ECHR, and resulted in a verdict against the UK Government in Decemebr 2008.

Following this there was an expectation by many that the UK government would delete innocents people data from the data base. Though this site, bucked the trend and suggested that the police would not delete DNA from innocent people.

Despite comments by the Home Secretary, repeated in answer to questions in the House of Commons, that they would follow the ruling of the ECHR, this is not really the case.

The government does intend to retain data of innocent people, they have just put a time limit on it. It is 12 years if your accused of a  violent of sex crime, and the emphaiss here is on accused, rather than charged, convicted, or there been any evidence against you at all.  If its  a lesser crime it wil be 6 years.

Though in 6 years time the governmetn could change the law again, or they could just chose to not delete the data.


The net result is if your arrested, regardless of the circumstances, your DNA will be taken and kept.