UK: New regulations extend fingerprint retention rules for a further six months


A second set of retention regulations made under powers conferred by section 24 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 was put before Parliament 10 September 2020, to come into force 1 October 2020.

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These regulations follow the first retention regulations, which provided for a six-month extension of the retention time limit. They apply to fingerprints or DNA that would otherwise be due for destruction between 1 October 2020 and 24 March 2021.

The Secretary of State alleges that “it is in the interests of national security to retain the fingerprints or DNA profiles" for a further six months, due to the "adverse effect" of the Covid-19 pandemic on national security determination decision making.

The regulations are applicable to fingerprints or DNA retained under a national security determination, a statutory retention period, or that are currently retained and in respects of which a requirement to destroy would arise under certain conditions. The retention of the fingerprints or DNA profiles may continue for a further period of six months starting with the date on which the final day of the retention period would otherwise have fallen.

The “interests of national security” are engaged if a “constable or a civilian staff member of a police force has notified the controller of the fingerprints or DNA profiles that they may be relevant to the interests of national security”.

This includes fingerprints or DNA profiles are retained under paragraph 20B(3) or paragraph 20C(3) of Schedule 8 to the Terrorism Act 200, section 18A(1) of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, paragraph 8(2) of Schedule 6 to the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011, or under section 63F(3) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 if the fingerprints or DNA profiles satisfy the national security retention condition.

As stated in the explanatory notes, “a full impact assessment has not been produced for this instrument as no, or no significant, impact on the private, voluntary or public sector is foreseen”

The Coronavirus (Retention of Fingerprints and DNA Profiles in the Interests of National Security) (No. 2) Regulations 2020

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