As a former police officer (left in 1996) we only used to take fingerprints upon charge which would then be destroyed if the person was not prosecuted or found not guilty – they were able to witness that destruction if they so requested.

We should return to this standard.  (Authorisation from a higher rank could be sought if it was justified to take a person's fingerprints etc if doing so would prove or disprove their involvement in the offence in question or if there was doubt as to their true identity and taking such samples would be able to prove their identity.)

Why is this idea important?

The British legal principle has been built on being innocent until proven guilty.  When a person is suspected of committing a criminal offence then the police gain certain powers and the arrested person loses certain liberties.  A person is arrested so that further enquiries might be carried out.  It is quite likely that while they are in custody it becomes apparent that there is no need to take the matter any further and they are released without a stain on their character.  It might even be shown that they have been unlawfully arrested.  It is not right that at the point of arrest such people should lose their liberty in giving data (fingerprints and DNA) to the state when there is subsequently no suspicion of their involvement at all in any criminal offence.

As well as protecting our liberties it will also reduce the costs of processing detained people due to the reduced requirement to take fingerprints, DNA, photographs etc.

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