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Police Powers - Taking of fingerprints and photos when arrested

Fingerprints and photographs may be taken for identification only (Law Enforcement(Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002, s.133). This includes ensuring that the police have a correct, up-to-date criminal record of handing up in court. In practice, this seems to be a routine police procedure carried out when a person is arrested. Consent of the person is not necessary.

Children under 14

However, if you are under 14, the police must have an order from the Children’s Court to take fingerprints and photographs (Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002,s. 136). If the police have no such order, he or she may take the child to the Children’s Court within 72 hours from taking the child into custody and apply for an order.

Destruction of fingerprints and photos

You may later be able to have fingerprints and photographs destroyed if you are let off without being charged if you are found not guilty or your conviction has been overturned upon appeal. (Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002, ss. 137, 37A). The police should destroy the fingerprints or palmprints and photos as soon as reasonably practicable after receiving your request.

If you are dealt with by the Children’s Court and found not guilty, or if you are found guilty but your charge is dismissed without a conviction under the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987, the court must order any fingerprints, palm prints and photos to be destroyed (Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987, s.38).

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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