Fingerprinting and photos

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In all but a few minor offences, you must allow the police to take your fingerprints if they believe that you have committed an offence. Police can use “reasonable” force to take your fingerprints if you refuse.

Before taking your fingerprints the police must inform you:

  • Why your fingerprints are needed
  • The offence they believe you have committed or that you have been charged with
  • That the fingerprints may be used as evidence in court

If you are 15 or 16 years of age your parents, guardian or an independent person must be with you when the police ask to take, and take, your fingerprints.

If you are between 10 and 14 years of age, the police must get your consent and the consent of your parents and guardian before your fingerprints are taken. You do NOT have to consent.

The police cannot fingerprint a child under 10 years of age.

If you refuse to give your fingerprints, the police can use “reasonable” force to get them. If you are 15 or 16 years of age and force is used, it must be video or audio taped.

If you are not charged within 6 months or you are found not guilty at court, the police must destroy your fingerprints.


The police cannot force you to have your photo taken. It is your right to refuse any request from the police for a photo.