News 16 January 2021

Over 400,000 police records have been lost due to “human error”

16 January 2021

Over 400,000 police records have been accidentally wiped from a national database.

Due to human error, the data has been lost and it is feared that several criminal investigations could be hindered or compromised.

It was initially reported that 150,000 were lost but it has now been established that the number is nearly four times that amount.

The loss includes 213,000 offence records, 15,000 prison records, 175,00 arrest records, 26,000 DNA records and 30,000 fingerprint records.

The Labour Leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has asked the home secretary to take responsibility for the blunder and explained its magnitude.

Starmer said, “having worked in criminal justice for many, many years, having prosecuted every case in England and Wales for five years, I know just how important that information is”.

“Some of these records now involve live cases, investigations which are going on now so this isn’t just a historic record, it’s a record that is relevant or some of them are relevant to ongoing investigations and the home secretary needs to take responsibility for that.”

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

He added that they are ” 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.”

He also said that “while the loss related 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.”