Significant step forward
Protection of Freedoms Act has been adopted and this is a significant step forward, however there is no deadline yet set for the removal of innocent people's records from the DNA database.
The Protection of Freedoms Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 11 February 2011, and passed into the House of Lords on 12 October 2011.
The Bill gained Royal Assent on 1 May 2012, becoming the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 marks the next step in the government's legislative programme to safeguard civil liberties and reduce the burden of government intrusion into the lives of individuals.
The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 key areas include bringing in a new framework for police retention of fingerprints and DNA data.
The Protection of Freedoms Act requires about a million innocent people's records to be removed from the National DNA database in England and Wales.
No deadline set for deletion of innocent DNA
However, no deadline has yet been set for the removal of records from police databases or the destruction of DNA samples.
If you are an innocent person with a record on the DNA database you should now contact your MP.
Welcome the adoption of the Protection of Freedoms Act and ask when:
• Your DNA and fingerprint records will be removed from police databases;
• Your DNA sample will be destroyed;
• New police guidance will be written to require the removal of your record of arrest from the Police National Computer (PNC).
Your MP should write to the Secretary of State Theresa May on your behalf. They can also ask questions in parliament about this issue.
You should also write to the Chief Constable of the police force which arrested you, asking the same questions.
Children and young people, or their parents, who were given a conviction, reprimand or final warning for a single minor offence more than three years ago can also ask these questions.
Note: the new law does not require the removal of records from adults who have accepted a caution from the police, and people arrested for serious offences can have their records retained for three years in the first instance, or a further two if there is approval by a court.
Contact your MP to find out when innocent DNA will be deleted
'People should be proud of the difference they have made in lobbying for change, the governments new law will mean that innocent DNA will have to be deleted and destroyed from police databases,' Helen Wallace, director of Gene Watch UK said.
'However we are concerned people may drag their feet on how long this will take. No deadline for dealing with backlog of people who are already on the database has been set.
If you write and ask then you should get some more information and it encourages those responsible for the DNA database to get on with it.
There is no date yet as to when it will be illegal for the police to keep the back log, but in in July it will be illegal for police to keep records ,' Wallace added.
'If people write to their MPs it could make a difference on how long it takes to get their DNA removed'.
For more information on how to encourage the speedy deletion of innocent DNA visits Gene Watch UK and Reclaim Your DNA websites.