On appeal from: [2010] EWHC 2225 (Admin)

The appellants had both been acquitted of previous charges, though after their arrest the police had taken DNA and fingerprint samples. In both cases, the appellants requested the destruction of the data taken. Their requests were refused as there were no exceptional circumstances within the meaning of the ACPO guidelines. The appellants issued proceedings for judicial review of the retention of their data. Appeal allowed. The Supreme Court ruled that the current law permitting the blanket and indefinite retention of non-convicted persons’ DNA profiles was unlawful and must be changed in order to comply with a ruling of the ECtHR.  The Court, by a majority of 5-2, rejected the submissions of the police and Secretary of State, that it should simply declare the current law incompatible with ECHR, art 8 and leave Parliament to amend the law as it saw fit.  Instead, new ACPO guidelines on retention must be drawn up within a reasonable time to ensure timely compliance with human rights law.

For judgment, please download: [2011] UKSC 21
For the Court’s press summary, please download: Press Summary