Hundreds of thousands of Police National Computer records have been deleted by mistake in a blunder that now faces investigation.
Apparently police investigations have been impacted by the error which has led to hundreds of thousands of criminal records being deleted from the UK-wide database.
The National Police Chiefs Council reports that 213k records were deleted but they first announced that only 150K records had gone. according to The Times.
The data loss has also resulted in a number of “near misses” when it comes the the investigation of serious crimes when detectives have been trying to identify an offender.
The Home Office is currently assessing the impact but that’s all they are saying on the matter at the moment.
But the data that has been lost includes fingerprints, DNA & arrest histories which was wiped from the Police National Computer (PNC) which stores and shares criminal records information across the UK after they were flagged for deletion.
What is PNC?
The PNC is used in police investigations and provides officers with real-time checks on people, vehicles and crimes as well as if suspects are wanted for unsolved offences.
Officers would ask for a PNC check when they stop and search a member of the public or they will run a vehicle through PNC before they commit to pulling it over.
The PNC is a tool that is heavily used within policing and officers and detectives rely upon PNC data within investigations.
But the Home Officer is blaming the deletion of the record on a coding error, which resulted in records being flagged for deletion and being lost from the database before checks had been carried out to determine whether they could be lawfully held or not.