The Information Commissioner has recently ordered 4 police forces to delete old criminal records from the Police National Computer – see ICO Press Release.
One of the police forces subject to an enforcement order is Humberside.
You have to feel sorry for the Humberside Police, who were heavily criticised after the Soham murders case. It was claimed at the time that their records on Ian Huntley were deleted as a result of the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998, even though release of these records to the Cambridgeshire Police may have prevented Huntley being permitted to take a caretaker’s job at Soham Village College. It appears they may have gone the other way after Soham, and stopped deleted anything.
The issue is the Fifth Data Protection Principle – keeping records longer than they are needed is not permitted. Records about trivial past offences may no longer be needed, but records that highlight a person’s risk to the public are.