DNA - 158/11
Dated: 07 Jun 2011
Date of request: 24/02/2011
Date of response: 07/03/2011
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')
Thank you for your email dated 24 February 2011 in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.
As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.
How many misclassifications have resulted from DNA profiling by your Local Police Force?
How many people who are innocent(those who are not charged) have had their DNA/Fingerprints/Other forms of Biometric data taken by the Local police to be added to the National Police Computer, National DNA Database, and for how long will this be retained?
How many times has the Chief of the Local Police force asked for an extension on the amount of time a DNA sample/fingerprint can be held for ii) How many times has a magistrates court agreed to the request?
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Crime Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police, however we are unable to supply for the following reason.
The information to provide an answer to question 2 of your request is not available from local systems and a member of staff would be required to manually search the Police National Computer for each and every arrest, record the outcomes and compile the statistics. We have estimated that to extract this information would take well in excess of 18 hours, therefore Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act would apply. This section does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimated that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit of 18 hours, equating to £450.00
You should consider this to be a refusal notice under section 17 of the Act for that part of your request.
Although excess cost removes Northumbria Police's obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as a gesture of goodwill, I have supplied information below, relative to your request, retrieved or available before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded. I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of your request.
1. Northumbria Police have no recorded examples of any such misclassifications. The identity of persons subject to DNA matches in such cases is always confirmed by means of fingerprints taken at the same time as the DNA sample.
3. Current legislation allows the police to retain DNA, Fingerprints and Photographs for the life of the subject. There is, therefore, no requirement for the police to request an extension of the time allowed for retention and no means to do so.
The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual property rights of Northumbria Police. Your use of the information must be strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) or such other applicable legislation. In particular, you must not re-use this information for any commercial purpose.
How to complain
If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our complaints procedure which can be found at: http://www.northumbria.police.uk/foi/disclosurelog/foicomprights.asp
If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.
Data Protection and Disclosure Advisor
Direct Dial: 01661 868347