Five law lords rejected legal opposition from civil liberty groups, which claimed the decision was an infringement of human rights. The lords said that solving and deterring crime was more important than issues on invading privacy.
"The idea that the police can keep DNA on someone innocent is absolutely wrong," said a spokesman for human rights group Liberty. "This ruling has gone through the back door. The Home Secretary David Blunkett has said that he wants a national DNA database, but I don't know if they will do it."
The case began when two previous suspects, who were never convicted of crimes, asked South Yorkshire police to delete their files. The High court and Court of Appeal rejected the request.