Photo records breached suspects' rights

A decision by police to keep photographs of two crime suspects who were never charged has been declared a breach of human rights in a landmark High Court ruling.

The ruling was won by two applicants referred to as RMC and FJ.

RMC is a 60-year-woman from Chelsea, who was arrested on suspicion of assault and had DNA samples, fingerprints and photographs taken. The Crown Prosecution Service decided not to charge her, 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 of his second cousin after attending a police station for questioning. During the arrest DNA was taken from FJ, along with fingerprints and photographs. No charges were brought, but the Met refused a request to destroy the material and also retained a record of his arrest and other information on the police national computer.

Today Lord Justice Richards, sitting at the High Court with Mr Justice Kenneth Parker, said: "The retention of the claimants' photographs amounts to an unjustified interference with their right to respect for their private life."