Giving fingerprints, photographs and samples

The police have the right to take photographs of you. They can also take fingerprints and a DNA sample (eg from a mouth swab or head hair root) from you as well as swab the skin surface of your hands and arms. They don’t need your permission to do this.

The police need both your permission and the authority of a senior police officer to take samples like blood or urine, or to take dental impressions.

This doesn’t apply when they take a blood or urine sample in connection with drink or drug driving. 


Information from fingerprints and samples is stored in a police database.

You can find out if your information is stored on the police database by getting a copy of your police records from your local police station.

You have to write to your local police (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or local police (Scotland) to have your personal information removed from the police database.

They’ll only do this if an offence no longer exists or if anything in the police process (eg how you were arrested or detained) was unlawful.