Police Scotland issues new biometrics information leaflet in custody suites

Police Scotland has begun distributing an information leaflet to all persons in police custody who have biometric data taken because of arrest.

Jun 20, 2024
By Paul Jacques

It follows recommendations made in 2023 by the Scottish Biometrics Commissioner.

The biometric data includes a photograph of the detainee, fingerprints and/or mouth swabs or hair samples to obtain a DNA profile.

The leaflet points out that this data may be shared with other law enforcement agencies in the UK or internationally, “but only if there is a policing reason/purpose for sharing this information”.

It adds: “If you are unhappy with how Police Scotland or the Scottish Police Authority Forensic Services have dealt with your personal data, you have the right to complain to the Scottish Biometrics Commissioner.”

Commissioner Dr Brian Plastow said: “It is essential that people arrested by the police in Scotland receive their information rights when deprived of their liberty, including an explanation of why the police may take their biometric data and how it will then be used.

“With around 88,000 police custody episodes in Scotland each year, this leaflet will ensure that important information rights are respected and that anyone who has their biometric data taken is aware of the Commissioner’s statutory Code of Practice and the accompanying complaint mechanism for data subjects.

“This new procedure follows recommendations made in our 2023 Assurance Reviews in relation to vulnerable adults and children demonstrating the impact of our work.

“I am grateful to Police Scotland for following these recommendations through to conclusion.”

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