This briefing on the Protection of Freedoms Bill was prepared for the House of Commons Second Reading debate. The Bill forms part of the Coalition Government's programme to “implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion”, and follows the passing of the Identity Documents Act 2010, which abolished identity cards. The Bill introduces a wide range of measures including the a new framework for police retention of fingerprints and DNA data, a requirement for schools to get parents’ consent before processing children’s biometric information, a new regime for police stops and searches under the Terrorism Act 2000 and the reduction of the maximum pre-charge detention period under that Act from 28 to 14 days. It also restricts the scope of the 'vetting and barring' scheme for protecting vulnerable groups and makes changes to the system of criminal records checks.

The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), including its exemptions, applies to the police. Section 29 of the Act details the "crime and taxation" exemption which allows personal data either to be processed or withheld from the data subject for the purposes of the prevention or detection of crime or the apprehension or prosecution of offenders.