Crime records including arrest history, DNA and fingerprints have been deleted in error from the Police National Computer (PNC).

Deputy Chief Constable Naveed Malik states that:

“Approximately 213,000 offence records, 175,000 arrest records and 15,000 person records have potentially been deleted [from the PNC] in error. In terms of understanding the potential linkage between records, a one-person record can have multiple arrest records and one arrest record can have multiple offences linked to it.”

The policing minister Kit Malthouse added that:

“Unfortunately down to human error, some defective code was introduced as part of that routine maintenance earlier this week. That’s resulted in a deletion of some records and that’s currently under investigation.

“We are now working very quickly with policing partners and within the Home Office to try and recover the data and assess the full extent of the problem.

This blunder comes at a bad time, coinciding as it does with the UK’s exit from the European Union. The PNC is used to check applicants’ criminal records. Consequently, the data breach caused the application process for visas to be suspended for two days.

The data breach could seriously impact the capability of the police to ensure proper delivery of justice. Records for serious offences are meant to be kept indefinitely meaning that missing records may mean missing offenders.

Data breaches by the police

The police have a responsibility to protect us – and this includes protecting personal sensitive data. Sadly, it is our experience that police frequently mismanages our personal data which gives rise to:

  • Inaccurate recording of personal data
  • Disclosing personal data to third parties without consent
  •  Sending data of the victims to their abuser
  • Disclosing offence records without consent

If you have suffered a data breach by the police, get in touch and our team at DRM Legal will confirm if you are eligible to make data breach compensation claim.