Two British men should not have had their DNA and fingerprints retained by police, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled.
The judges said keeping the information “could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society”.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she was “disappointed” by the European Court of Human Rights’ decision.
The database may now have to be scaled back following the unanimous judgement by 17 senior judges from across Europe.
Under present laws, the DNA profiles of everyone arrested for a recordable offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are kept on the database, regardless of whether they are charged or convicted.