Reclaim your DNA

Our report on the DNA Database highlighted how the database has continued to grow in recent years, and that despite the passage of the Protection of Freedoms Act innocent people still have no timetable for when their DNA will be removed from the database.

We’re delighted to support GeneWatch’s ‘Reclaim your DNA’ campaign,which aims to bring about the swift removal of innocent people from the DNA database and the associated systems.

There are two ways to get involved. Firstly, write to your MP and ask them to write to the Home Secretary on your behalf.(You can find who your MP is here) We have drafted a letter to your MP for you to use that you can download here.

The three key questions you should ask are:

  • When will your DNA and fingerprint records be removed from police databases;
  • When will your DNA sample will be destroyed;
  • When will new police guidance be issued requiring the removal of your record of arrest from the Police National Computer (PNC)

You should also write to the Chief Constable of the police force who took your sample. (We’ve produced a template letter here.) If you don’t know who the relevant Chief Constable is you can find the individual police force websites here.

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 Magistrate’s court. However you will be entitled to be notified that an application for retention has been made.


  1. Jonathan_kipping
    7th June 2012

    So in the note, you’re saying that if you’ve been cautioned you are not entitled to have your DNA removed?

  2. Farci_Glasgow
    7th June 2012

    Will this also apply in Scotland?

    This article seems to suggest a more ‘customer-friendly’ approach north of the border:

  3. Avocadonut1
    7th June 2012

    I had my fingerprint taken about 20 years ago while paying for admission to a theme park, I paid using my debit card and was asked to give my thumb print, naturaly I asked why? to which I was told it is going to be a new way to pay in the future or words to that effect, I was appalled!!!how on earth do I trace the correct police department responsible to have my print eliminated?

  4. Reclaim_your_DNA
    13th February 2013

    I would encourage innocents to shorten the 6 year waiting time to have DNA and PNC records deleted. Just spend £10 and ‘make a subject access request by writing to the police force that arrested you. According my understanding of what is written on page 91 of the revised Management of Police Information Guidelines (MoPI) this will trigger a review before the mandated 6 or 10 year review periods and they should do a ‘Risk Assesmment’ evaluating the policing benefit to keeping your record on the PNC.

  5. Annon
    13th April 2013

    what if you was told you might as well take the caution, because if you dont you will waste the courts time? .. that’s what I was told and now I feel stupid for taking it and the police also told me that beause cautions are minor it will not affect my travelling and will be removed off the system within 2 years completley.