Credit: Police Grand-Ducale

On Wednesday 13 January 2021, Luxembourg's Minister for Internal Security, Henri Kox, and the Minister of Justice, Sam Tanson, presented the bill relating to the reform of police files, in the presence of the representative of the prosecution, Marc Schiltz, and the director general of the Grand Ducal Police, Philippe Schrantz.

This bill was drawn up in close consultation with a monitoring committee and was the subject of several consultations by the Committee on Internal Security and Defence and the Justice Committee of the Chamber of Deputies (Luxembourg's Parliament) for the purpose of providing a more specific framework for the processing of personal data within police files. 

The ambition of this bill is to strike a balance between the rights of victims, which must be guaranteed, and the rights of those suspected of having participated in a criminal offence, while allowing the police to do their work effectively. To achieve this, the authors of the text focussed not only on determining the purposes of the central file, but also on the establishment of rules and criteria to govern the access rights of police officers to police files and on the principles governing the retention periods for personal data, thus enabling members of the public to understand according to what criteria and for what duration their data is kept. The bill particularly encourgaes the two ministries (justice and internal security) to work together. 

In the area of ​​judicial police, the time limits for keeping data in police files and those in the “Justice Chaîne Pénale” file (judicial authorities' data processing tool) will be aligned, with some exceptions. The principle is that archiving in the judicial file will trigger, according to predefined rules, the transfer to the passive part of the central police file by an automated feedback, while granting certain powers to the state prosecutor in this matter. From the entry into force of the new law, the judicial authorities will therefore play a strengthened role in the area of ​​retention periods for police files in matters of judicial police and will have various decision-making powers relating thereto. 

Finally, a criminal sanction has been introduced in the event that persons with an authorisation to access the processing of personal data misuse it, particularly for purposes other than those for which the access authorisation has been granted or the fact of bringing to the attention of an unauthorised third party the personal data thus obtained.