UK police have lost more than 150,000 fingerprints, DNA and arrest history records after accidentally wiping them from national policing systems. The Home Office said that it was working with police to “assess the impact” of the glitch that occurred within the plans and that no records of criminals or dangerous persons had been deleted.
It said the wiped records were those of people arrested and released when no further action was taken.
Policing minister Kit Malthouse said that “a standard housekeeping process that runs on the Police National Computer [PNC] deleted several records in error”, and that “a fast time review has identified the problem and corrected the process, so it cannot happen again” Malthouse added: “The Home Office, the National Police Chiefs Council and other law enforcement partners are working at pace to recover the data.
While the loss relates to individuals who were arrested and then released with no further action, I have asked officials and the police to confirm their initial assessment that there is no threat to public safety.” However, it is currently unclear which specific policing systems experienced the problem and how widespread it was. Although the PNC does hold a range of personal data on individuals – from information on arrests and convictions to vehicles and property – it does not contain fingerprint or other biometric information located in the IDENT1 system.