Innocent man’s fury after police took fingerprint and DNA samples

AN ex-soldier who has served in Northern Ireland and guarded the royal family is calling for a police investigation into why he had his fingerprints and DNA sampled after he became the victim of an alleged attack.

The 55-year-old from Main Street, Loppergarth, near Ulverston, is furious that it took a seven-month battle to have his personal details removed from the national database.

Cumbria police say the information has now been erased from their databases and are now waiting for Steve Atkinson to decide on the next course of action.

What makes the former soldier even angrier is that he fought for his country during the troubles in Northern Ireland, witnessing the worst IRA atrocities.

He also guarded the royal family during his unblemished eight-year career and has never been in trouble in his life.

The truck driver, who now works for CAW Ltd, in Walney Road, Barrow, feels he has now been branded a criminal.

Mr Atkinson explained how he became involved in an altercation in Stainton last September.

He claims he was manhandled and went to Dalton police station to report that he had been assaulted.

He said: “I told the officer what had happened and he said it was likely that the man in question would make a counter allegation so it would be my word against his.

“He said he would need to take my fingerprints and a DNA sample.

“I said to him ‘why do you need that? I came in here as a volunteer. I haven’t committed a crime?’

“I was told that everyone had to have them done. We ended up in a stand-off and he wouldn’t back down.

“In the end, I knew I wasn’t going to win and I had to be somewhere so I said to him ‘I’ll do it under protest but I will be writing to the chief constable first thing in the morning to complain.’

“I feel like I was treated atrociously. It was totally intimidatory and against my human rights. I was, and am, an innocent person.”

Last week, after months of correspondence between himself and Cumbria police, he was finally informed what had happened to him was wrong.

A letter from the force to Mr Atkinson states: “Having reviewed the circumstances of the taking of your DNA and fingerprints, in light of your most recent comments, I have concluded that it would appear that these were not in fact taken in accordance with the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

“This is due to the fact you were not actually arrested or detained at the police station upon your attendance, and you state you did not consent to the DNA sample/fingerprints being taken.”

He is then advised what to do if he wishes to take further action.

A spokesman for Cumbria Constabulary said: “The DNA and information in question has been removed from police databases. We are waiting to hear back from Mr Atkinson to find out how he would like us to proceed. This could involve conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fingerprints and DNA being taken to determine whether we need to take any further action.

Mr Atkinson added: “I’m seriously angry. I have never done anything wrong in my life and I have been treated like a criminal. My life was held on some computer for anyone to see and why?

“Until now I have always seen the police as people to be trusted but now I see them as a major concern.

“I definitely want them to launch an investigation into why this happened because no one should be treated this way.”

No case was brought regarding the assault as a counter allegation was made by the other man against Mr Atkinson. Both received letters from the police warning them about their future behaviour.