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British security agencies will be forced to destroy biometric data of forty-five terror suspects. The DNA samples and fingerprints were retained for a longer duration than the law allows. While police could be allowed to keep the information indefinitely, the appropriate paperwork was not submitted in time to be allowed to do so. Due to an administrative error this vital information will be lost, The Telegraph reports.
According to a new report, the UK counterterrorism database holds biometric data of some 7,800 suspects. The report was compiled by Alastair MacGregor QC, Commissioner for the Retention and Use of Biometric Material and for the first time reveals how many suspects had their biometric data retained. The number is higher than previous estimates.
Biometric data on suspects who have not been charged must be destroyed within six months, according to informed sources who spoke to the Telegraph. The police can apply for a “national security declaration” (NSD) on the data, that if granted could allow it to be held indefinitely.
Police are now undertaking “urgent steps” to “procure the speedy deletion” of data that has been held for longer than is allowed, MacGregor said.
“I understand that by October 31 2015 handling and other delays had led to a situation in which the statutory retention periods in respect of the biometric records of at least some 450 individuals had expired before NSDs could be or had been made in relation to them,” MacGregor said in the report.
“Although it seems unlikely that NSDs would have been applied for and made in relation to more than a small proportion of those records, I also understand that in about 10 percent of those cases it is possible that NSDs would have been applied for. Indeed, in at least three of those cases such applications had in fact been made and approved.”