HC Deb 23 July 1942 vol 382 cc199-200W
Mr. Wilson

asked the Home Secretary in what nature of cases the photograph and/or finger prints of a person accused are taken before he appears in court; whether in all cases where a prisoner is sentenced his photograph and fingerprints are taken; what becomes of these means of identification in cases where subsequently a free pardon is recommended; and how the individual can be satisfied that they are not preserved either locally or in any other place?

Mr. H. Morrison

Where a person is committed to prison, either to await his trial or after conviction, his photograph and finger-prints may be taken in pursuance of regulations made under Section 8 of the Penal Servitude Act, 1891. If an untried prisoner objects an order of the Secretary of State or an application in writing signed by an officer of police of not lower rank than superintendent, and approved by a Justice of the Peace, or in the Metropolitan Police District by the Commissioner of Police or an Assistant Commissioner, is necessary. Photographs and finger-prints are normally taken in indictable cases and in certain other specified cases. If a person is charged with an offence but is not committed to prison, the police normally take his finger-prints and photograph in the same kind of case. This action is, however, taken only if the individual raises no objection. If the photograph and finger-prints of an untried prisoner who has not previously been convicted of crime are taken by the police or by the prison authorities and the individual is subsequently discharged or acquitted by the court, these records are forthwith destroyed or handed over to the person concerned. If a free pardon is granted, the police and the prison authorities act in the same way as if the individual had been acquitted. An individual to whom a free pardon is granted and who has not previously been convicted of crime may at any time approach the chief officer of police concerned for an assurance that the police records have been destroyed. As I have informed my hon. Friend the records in the particular case in which he is interested have already been destroyed.

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