DNA retention infringes Article 8

Strasbourg ruling could affect one in five samples

In a landmark ruling, the Grand Chamber in Strasbourg has found that the current UK policy of retaining DNA samples from individuals who are subequently acquitted is an infringement of Article 8 ECHR.

It is believed that approximately 500,000 samples currently held on the national database are from people without a criminal conviction.

The Court accepted that the extension of the database to include the DNA of unconvicted persons in 2001 had contributed to the detection and prevention of crime but was struck by the “blanket and indiscriminate nature” of the power.