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Youth Identifying Particulars Bill passes

Hon Judith Collins
Minister of Police
18 August 2011

Youth Identifying Particulars Bill passes

A Bill reinstating the legal rights of Police over storage of youth identifying particulars, such as fingerprints and photographs, restores one of the Police’s vital tools in addressing youth offending, Police Minister Judith Collins said.

The Policing (Storage of Youth Identifying Particulars) Amendment Bill was passed in Parliament today. The Bill amends the Policing Act 2008 to restore the legal position held by Police under the Police Act 1958, Police Minister Judith Collins said today.

When the Policing Act 2008 was passed, it was assumed that the legal situation relating to Police's ability to retain the identifying particulars of youth was carried over from the Police Act 1958.

However, in 2010 Police became aware that the wording of the part of the 2008 Act, which deals with the storage of identifying particulars by Police, was much narrower than the 1958 Act in respect of youth.

The current legislation permits Police to retain about 50 sets of identifying particulars of young offenders per year. The Bill would allow Police to retain about 1200 sets of identifying particulars.

“The legal position was not intended to be altered by the Policing Act 2008,” Ms Collins said.

“If this unintended situation is not remedied Police will continue to be unable to retain the identifying particulars for these young offenders. And, any future re-offending by the same people will be more difficult to detect.

“By identifying young repeat offenders, Police can help prevent them continuing down the path of crime. This also provides some reassurance to victims.”

As soon as Police became aware that they were potentially holding some youth fingerprints and photographs unlawfully they acted in good faith and put in place a process to destroy them. Around 5,500 items were destroyed.

ENDS

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