Protection of Freedoms Act
The Protection of Freedoms Act was adopted by parliament on 1st May 2012.
The new Act significantly improves the legislation covering the operation of UK National DNA Database by the police in England and Wales. More than a million innocent people's DNA and fingerprint records will be removed from police computers and all DNA samples will be destroyed.
In May 2013, the Government reported significant progress in deleting 1,136,000 innocent people's DNA profiles from the National DNA Database and destroying 6,341,000 DNA samples. However, removal of profiles of children convicted of a single minor offence has not yet been fully implemented and the Act will not commence in full until later in 2013.
New guidance will also have to be written for the police, to make sure that Police National Computer (PNC) records are deleted at the same time as people's DNA and fingerprint records (this requirement is not included explicitly in the Act). Minister Lord Henley's statement about PNC records is here.
You can read about the Act's development on the Protection of Freedoms Bill section of this website.
- Consultation responses
- External links
- ACRO: Early Deletion of Biometric Information from National Police Systems
- National DNA Database Strategy Board Early Deletion Process: Guidance to Chief Officers on the Destruction of DNA Samples, DNA Profiles and fingerprints under Section 63AB(2) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (January 2014)
- National DNA Database Strategy Board: Applications to the Biometrics Commissioner under PACE (17th September 2013)
- Gizmonaut: Commencement day of DNA provisions of the Protection of Freedom Act in October (22nd July 2013)
Damien Green MP (Home Office minister): Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill Debate (16th July 2013)
Reports that 7.7 million DNA samples have been destroyed. Adopts an amendment to the legislation so that biological samples taken for reasons other than DNA testing can be retained where needed for court proceedings.
The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (Commencement No. 7) Order 2013
Commencement order for the provisions in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 which relate to the destruction, retention and use of material including fingerprints, DNA samples and DNA profiles. Most provisions will come into force by 31st October 2013, with the destruction of copies coming into force by 31st January 2014.
- The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (Destruction, Retention and Use of Biometric Data) (Transitional, Transitory and Saving Provisions) Order 2013
- Home Office: Guidance on the making or renewing of national security determinations allowing the retention of biometric data (10th June 2013)
- Biometrics Commissioner: consultation under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (31st May 2013)
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Written Ministerial Statement House of Lords: DNA and fingerprints (20th May 2013)
Reports that 1,136,000 DNA profiles belonging to innocent individuals have been deleted from the National DNA Database. In addition, some 6,341,000 DNA samples containing sensitive biological material that are no longer needed as a DNA profile has been obtained have been destroyed.
- Home Office: Protection of Freedoms Act 2012: how DNA and fingerprint evidence is protected in law (4th April 2013)
They Work for You: Parliamentary Question to James Brokenshire MP (21st March 2013)
As at 19 March 2013, forensic laboratories had destroyed 453,000 DNA samples, and the NDNAD had destroyed 504,000 digital DNA profiles.
- Home Office: Appointment of the Biometrics Commissioner and update on the implementation of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 - WMS (4th March 2013)
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (13th December 2012)
The Government announces a timetable for implementation of the protection of Freedoms Act. All DNA samples will be destroyed by May 2013 and all records on the DNA database and fingerprint database will be made consistent with the Act by September 2013.
- House of Lords: Motion of Regret (5th December 2012)
- Home Office Press Release: Sweeping reforms to restore British liberties (1st May 2012)
- Protection of Freedoms Act
- Tom Brake MP: A landmark achievement in fight for our civil liberties (1st May 2012)
- The Solution: National criminal DNA database and black Britain (April 2012)
- Press articles