The retention of photographs, fingerprints, and DNA of apprehended individuals is a violation of Article 8

On 22nd June 2012, in The Queen, on the application of (1) RMC and (2) FJ – and – Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis, the UK High Court ruled that the retention of photographs, fingerprints and DNA taken of citizens on arrest was in violation of the Human Rights Act and an unlawful interference with Article 8 of the ECHR on the right to respect for private life. Two individuals who had been arrested separately brought this case after their fingerprints, photographs and DNA samples were retained. RMC had been arrested for assault and bodily harm and FJ had been arrested on the suspicion of rape at the age of 12. Neither of them was prosecuted. The Court was faced with the question of whether the interference with Article 8 was justified by determining whether retention was ‘in accordance with the law’ in accordance with Article 8(2), and whether it was proportionate. It found that the existing policy does not strike ‘a fair balance between the competing public and private interests’, nor does it ‘meet the requirements of proportionality’ and that the interference with Article 8 was unjustified.

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