Watchdog slams police DNA database guidelines

A human rights watchdog has slammed the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) for advising chief constables to continue adding DNA profiles of innocent...

A human rights watchdog has slammed the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) for advising chief constables to continue adding DNA profiles of innocent people to the national DNA database.

This guidance does not meet the requirement set by the European Court of Human Rights for clear and justifiable reasons for keeping the DNA data of innocent people, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said in a statement.

The commission has asked the government to issue interim guidance to police forces in England and Wales that complies with the European court's requirement.

"The government has so far refused to do this and Acpo has advised chief constables to continue to apply existing retention policy pending new guidance from the Home Office, expected to be available in 2010," the commission said.

John Wadham, group director legal at the commission, said the government should take the opportunity to clarify the situation now and avert future costly and time consuming legal action.

The commission has made several recommendations to government on how to bring UK DNA database in line with European law.

The commission has also called for an independent adjudicator to give innocent people a way of challenging the need to keep their DNA profile on record.

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