Presentation on theme: "DNA and fingerprint data: Developing law and policy Susan Ferguson Head of Police Powers and Public Protection Unit."— Presentation transcript:
DNA and fingerprint data: Developing law and policy Susan Ferguson Head of Police Powers and Public Protection Unit
What does the Scottish Government want to achieve through its justice policies? To help local communities to flourish, becoming stronger, safer places to live offering improved opportunities and a better quality of life. We can live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger.
Why do we take and retain DNA and fingerprints? Effective means of identification. Used alongside other evidence helps to paint a picture of how the crime was conducted. Retaining on database provides a means of identifying suspects either more rapidly or who might not have been identified at all. Protects the public from further risk of harm.
Striking the right balance – the challenges Tension between individual rights and protecting the public. Lack of detailed evidence of how legislation and policies work in practice – outcomes. Different perspectives and perceptions.
Challege: Rights vs protection European Convention of Human Rights – S & Marper v UK – Retention triggered by arrest regardless of seriousness of offence – Indefinite retention with no provision for independent review of justification for retention – Risk of stigmatisation: those not convicted treated in same way as those convicted
Challenge: Evidence Need evidence to ensure retention policies effective and proportionate. Identify cases that would not have been solved without DNA/fingerprint evidence. Demonstrate the contribution and effectiveness of DNA/fingerprints at various stages in the criminal justice process. Identify optimum retention times. Can we estimate how many offences have been prevented?
Challenge: Perspectives and perceptions People hold different views. Public perceptions can be based on bad information. Separating the valid issues from those that can be resolved with better information.
Meeting the challenges in Scotland Review the acquisition and retention of DNA and fingerprints. Consultation on proposals stemming from review. Develop final proposals for inclusion in legislation: – Bring fingerprint retention for non-convicted people into line with DNA retention – Retain from children dealt with in Children’s Hearings system – Place uses of DNA on a statutory footing
Forensic Data Working Group Multi-agency working group established by Ministers. Remit: – Take forward recommendations on governance, accountability and transparency. – Develop evidence base. – Develop procedures to achieve consistency in operation of existing legislation and to implement new legislation.
The future A strong base upon which to build evidence. Governance that is more open and transparent, with better networks and more opportunities for debate. Published information on the database and its operation, and independent oversight of reports. Increased public understanding of the issues. Policies, legislation and procedures as robust as they can be.