A supply teacher from Birmingham who was accused of hitting a child twice with a ruler, but was not prosecuted, has won her legal battle to have her fingerprints, DNA sample and photograph destroyed within 28 days.
Philippa Jones, from Kings Norton, is also to receive #250 damages from the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, plus her legal costs.
Ms Jones launched a High Court action for a declaration that the taking of her finger-prints and DNA - after the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute - was unlawful. She had also claimed damages for false imprisonment and assault.
But the case ended at the High Court yesterday when the police accepted that Ms Jones was entitled to a judicial review.
Mr Justice Wilkie approved a consent order in which the police agreed to destroy the fingerprints, DNA and photo-graph within 28 days and pay the damages.
A statement before the court said Ms Jones, a supply teacher in the West Midlands, was arrested on June 14 2005 and taken to Kings Norton police station following an allegation by an eight-year-old child that she had hit him twice with a ruler.
Ms Jones "strenuously denied" the allegation, and the CPS decided not to prosecute.
Almost half an hour later, despite representations by her solicitor that she ought to be released "forthwith", the police insisted on taking her photograph, fingerprints and a DNA sample,
According to the statement, the police acted even though Ms Jones's solicitor had told the police their action was "inappropriate" as the CPS had decided not to prosecute.
Before yesterday's decision by West Midlands Police to consent to a judicial review, Ms Jones's legal team was due to argue in court that the main powers to take fingerprints were carefully regulated under the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act in order to safeguard the suspect. The taking of a suspect's fingerprints or DNA by police and their subsequent retention was lawful "providing the suspect is lawfully detained".
However, once the Crown Prosecution Service had decided not to prosecute, Ms Jones was no longer a suspect and the grounds for her detention ceased to apply.
There were no grounds for the police to take fingerprints and DNA, and in doing so they both assaulted her and falsely imprisoned her.
Her lawyers also submitted that, although the courts had recognised the value of retaining fingerprints and samples for the prevention and investigation of crime and the protection of others, that could only be done "in the context of a lawful frame-work" and when the police were operating lawfully.
Section 64A of PACE allowed police to photograph a person without consent, but only if lawfully detained at a police station, which was not the case with Ms Jones.
NASUWT, the largest union representing teachers and headteachers throughout the UK, said it intended to write to the Home Office about the "disturbing case of police harassment" which "traumatised" Ms Jones, one of its members.
Chris Keates, NASUWT's general secretary, said: "NASUWT has campaigned vigorously for years to raise awareness of the vulnerability of teachers to false allegations and the trauma they face as a result.
"This case is a classic example of why we have been campaigning."