Police photos breached human rights
A POLICE decision to retain photographs of two crime suspects who were never charged has been declared a breach of human rights in a landmark High Court ruling.
Two judges ruled as “unlawful” the Metropolitan Police policy on custody photographs, which is based on the Home Secretary’s code of practice on the management of police information and related guidance.
The ruling was won by two applicants referred to as “RMC” and “FJ”, who must not be identified for legal reasons. RMC is a 60-year-old woman from Chelsea, who five years ago was arrested on suspicion of assault, and had DNA samples, fingerprints and photographs taken.
The Crown Prosecution Service decided not to charge her with assaulting a community support officer who had stopped her riding a cycle on a footpath, but the Metropolitan Police refused the “distressed” woman’s request to destroy her records.
In the second case, FJ, a 12-year-old boy from Peckham, was arrested on suspicion of rape after attending a police station for questioning in April 2009. No charges were brought after a third party witness did not confirm an offence had taken place.
During the arrest, DNA was taken from FJ, now 15, along with fingerprints and photographs..
Lord Justice Richards, sitting at London’s High Court with Mr Justice Kenneth Parker, said: “In my judgment the retention of the claimants’ photographs in application of the existing policy amounts to an unjustified interference with their right to respect for their private life and is in breach of Article 8 (of the human rights convention).”
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