Fears in UK over deletion of terror suspects’ biometric profiles
27 May 2016 12:10 GMT

Britain’s biometric commissioner has said that delays in police procedure have led to the deletion of biometric records held on at least 100 potential terror suspects.

Alastair MacGregor QC has found in a new report that between 31 October 2013 and 31 March 2016, the retention periods expired in the cases of about 810 people, including over 100 cases related to national security.

This resulted in their DNA and fingerprint data being deleted.

“It is now my understanding that applications for NSDs [national security determinations] would undoubtedly have been made in at least 108 of the cases,” MacGregor said, adding that the true figure may have been much higher.

The biometric profiles were mostly taken during port stops under powers granted to officials under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, MacGregor said.

The culprits in the deletions are delays in transferring and processing biometric profiles,and IT systems which further delayed assessments, he said.

“There have been repeated delays in the transfer of DNA samples and/or profiles to SOFS from the ports where Schedule 7 Examinations have taken place. Whilst there will inevitably be some delay between the taking of a DNA sample and the deriving from it of a DNA profile, the delays in providing samples and/or profiles to SOFS have often been significantly greater than might reasonably have been expected.”

The new MacGregor report also noted more than half of the  people on British counter-terrorism Biometric databases are innocent.

Some 53 per cent of the 9,600 individuals in the fingerprint and DNA database were never convicted of a recordable offence, he said.

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