More than 400,000 crime records could have been affected by a data blunder, with records for serious offences supposed to be kept forever accidentally deleted and police fearing criminals may not be caught, a letter from a senior officer reveals. The records were accidentally deleted due to a coding error on 10 January, and the incident affects fingerprints, DNA, and arrest records on the police national computer (PNC)...
A letter sent to senior officers on the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) on Friday from deputy chief constable Naveed Malik, lead for the organisation on the PNC, outlines the scale of records affected: “In PNC approximately 213,000 offence records, 175,000 arrest records and 15,000 person records have potentially been deleted 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 DNA database is connected to the PNC and has also been hit, the police chief’s letter reveals. It says: “Approximately 26,000 DNA records corresponding to 21,710 subjects have potentially been deleted in error, including records that have previously been marked for indefinite retention following conviction of serious offences.”
Technicians are also scrambling to recover tens of thousands of fingerprint records, according to the deputy chief constable’s letter, which says that “30,000 fingerprint records and 600 subject records have potentially been deleted in error”.