Long announces consultation on biometric proposals

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Friday, July 24th, 2020

Justice Minister Naomi Long has launched a public consultation to seek views on proposals to further amend the law relating to the retention of DNA and fingerprints in Northern Ireland.


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The Justice Minister said, “DNA and fingerprints play a valuable role in the detection and investigation of crime.



“These new proposals amend and supplement existing legislation which, when commenced, will provide the future statutory framework for the retention of biometric data in Northern Ireland.

“This is an important area of public policy and I would encourage all who have an interest to respond to this consultation,” she added.



All of the proposals will involve changes to the yet un-commenced biometric provisions set out in Schedule 2 of the Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2013 (CJA).

The proposals are:

To replace the indefinite retention of biometric data of convicted persons within CJA with maximum retention periods based on age and the seriousness of the offence.



A regulation-making power that will enable the Department to set out in subordinate legislation a review mechanism that will require police to carry out a periodic review of the continued need for biometric data to be retained under these maximum retention periods.

A change to the legislation that will enable DNA and fingerprints taken in Northern Ireland to be retained on the basis of a conviction for a recordable offence committed in a country or territory outside the United Kingdom.

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Provision that will enable DNA and fingerprints taken in connection with an offence that has been ‘left on books’ by a court to be retained for a period of 12 months.

To widen the scope of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for the Retention of Biometric Material.

 The consultation will run until 28 August 2020.


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