Jeremy Johnson QC and Georgina Wolfe successful in judicial review in respect of retention of records of crime reports and an entry on the Police National Computer

Jeremy Johnson QC and Georgina Wolfe successfully appeared on behalf of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis in R (TD) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 2231 (Admin).

The Claimant (TD) had been arrested in 2004 following an allegation of sexual assault. His biometric data was taken and the incident gave rise to entries on the CRIS (crime report information system) and PNC (police national computer). TD was never prosecuted but the police retained his data. He sought an order quashing the decision to refuse to delete his records claiming that the retention breached his rights under article 8 of the ECHR.
At the time of the hearing, the biometric data had been destroyed as part of a mass deletion process in advance of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 coming into force. TD challenged the ongoing retention of his information on the CRIS and PNC which, under the Metropolitan Police’s current policy (contained in its Corporate Retention, Review and Disposal Schedule), would be retained for 100 years. This policy is derived from guidance promulgated under the statutory Code of Practice on the Management of Police Information (July 2005). In light of recent Strasbourg authority (MM v the United Kingdom (App. No. 24029/07, 13 November 2012, final 29.4.13)) the rules in MoPI and the Metropolitan Police’s own policy are likely to be reconsidered.
Lord Justice Moses, who emphasised that retention should be subject to review, dismissed the claim:

In my view, now that only nine years have elapsed and in the knowledge that access to the information is restricted to those who seek to investigate a crime it seems to me, like Richards LJ in J, that the Commissioner has demonstrated that the use to which the records of the allegation may be put justifies their retention, at least for the time being.

Mr Justice Burnett agreed saying:
The time has not come when it can be said that the retention of the material records relating to the claimant for the purposes identified by Moses LJ is a disproportionate interference with his article 8 rights.