Lord Steyn in the House of Lords ruling in S. and Marper v. UK ( UKHL 39) held that 'the increase in the database of fingerprints and samples promoted the public interest by the detection and prosecution of serious crime and by exculpating the innocent;' [Emphasis added]. The case of Kevin Reynolds contradicts this point.
Kevin Reynolds was first arrested in 2002, and the police took DNA samples from him. When he was acquitted, the Police retained his DNA samples and profile. Three years ago, Kevin was arrested a second time, this time on suspicion of murder. The police had DNA from the crime scene; if they had compared it to the DNA retained from Kevin's first arrest he would have been cleared immediately - but they didn't. See details in DNA retention of unconvicted people.
Kevin informed me that he just received the following letter, dated 2008-12-02, from SCD12 - AC Private Office and Business Services, Metropolitan Police:
Re: Request for deletion of fingerprints, DNA and PNC records
Dear Mr Reynolds,
I refer to previous correspondence regarding the above.
Your case has been subject to a review based on existing MPS records and the evidence and contention you have provided.
After consideration, Commander [name removed] (on behalf of the Commissioner), is of the opinion that your case should be treated as exceptional.
Based upon this, your records will now be destroyed
The deletion process takes a number of weeks to be fully completed, you will be informed when the deletion of all samples / records has taken place.
NB. fingerprints of an unsuitable quality would not have been retained.
for Commander - Operational Information, Intelligence and Learning, on behalf of the Commissioner
Congratulations to Kevin. As this letter is dated two days earlier than the ECHR judgement in S. and Marper v. UK, the decision in Kevin's case could not have been affected by this ruling. It is likely that Kevin is one of the last innocents in England and Wales who had to fight the Police, often over several years, to have a chance to be among the happy few couple hundred individuals to manage to get their DNA records destroyed each year. Now that the ECHR has found the retention of S. and Marper's DNA breaches human rights law, it should be much easier for innocents who have had their DNA taken by the police to get their DNA samples and profile destroyed. GeneWatch UK recommends that you write now to the Chief constable of the police force that arrested you to request your DNA records to be destroyed.