Baroness Hanham's amendment to the Counter Terrorism Bill, reported on yesterday, was successful by a vote of 161 - 150.
The Government will now have to set out national guidelines for DNA and if there is a refusal to destroy DNA samples or fingerprint records, a written explanation will be required.
The Conservatives want clear procedures for requesting a statement on information held about an individual, and on how to make a case for requesting the removal of data from the database.
The amendment looks like this:
'Insert the following new Clause—
“National guidelines on the fingerprint and sample database
(1) The Secretary of State shall by regulations publish national guidelines for governmental agencies establishing—
(a) a procedure by which a person can request a statement of what information relating to fingerprints and samples is held on them or on a dependent;
(b) a procedure by which a person can request that such information held on them or a dependent is destroyed;
(c) the circumstances in which a request under paragraph (b) may be refused.
(2) If a request made under paragraph (1)(b) is refused under paragraph (1)(c), the relevant agency shall write to the person setting out why such information will not be destroyed and when such circumstances as prevent it being destroyed may no longer apply.
(3) In drawing up guidelines under subsection (1), the Secretary or State shall consult such bodies as he thinks appropriate.
(4) Regulations under subsection (1) shall not be made until a draft copy is laid before, and approved by resolution of, both Houses of Parliament.”'
On 9th October Lady Hanham told the House of Lords:
"The current database for DNA, in particular, is incoherent, incomplete and completely illogical. Not everyone who has been found guilty of an offence is on it; while some who are completely innocent are. There is widespread ignorance and confusion about the use of the information and the rights that individuals have to get themselves removed from a database once they are on it."
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