150,000 police records were wiped due to an ‘error’ - including fingerprints and DNA
The Government is currently looking into the impact of the wiping of 150,000 police records, which were deleted from databases due to a “technical issue”.
Data - including fingerprint, DNA and arrest histories - were wiped after accidentally being flagged for deletion, according to The Times.
Home Office assessing impact
The data was lost from the Police National Computer, which is a system that stores and shares criminal records information across the UK.
The Home Office has said that the lost entries related to those who were arrested and then released without further action.
However, The Times has said that the technological error could allow offenders to go free, as evidence from crime scenes would not be flagged on the Police National Computer.
This would mean that fingerprint or DNA evidence would not be able to be cross-checked against evidence gathered from other crime scenes.
The Home Office has said that the incident has now been resolved, but are working quickly with law enforcement “to assess its impact".
"The issue related to people arrested and released where no further action had been taken, and no records of criminal or dangerous persons have been deleted. No further records can be deleted,” the Home Office said.
Deliberate activity, including a cyber attack, has been ruled out and the Home Office is understood to believe there have been no risks concerning visa processing.
‘This is an extraordinarily serious security breach’
Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, has said that the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, should take responsibility for this error and explain what has gone wrong in order to reassure the public.
Mr Thomas-Symonds said: "The home secretary must take responsibility for this serious problem.
"She must - urgently - make a statement about what has gone wrong, the extent of the issue, and what action is being taken to reassure the public. Answers must be given.
"This is an extraordinarily serious security breach that presents huge dangers for public safety.
"The incompetence of this shambolic government cannot be allowed to put people at risk, let criminals go free and deny victims justice."