07/26/2008: "Uk Private Investigator Blog - "Police forced to delete criminal records""
The UK police force recently lost another case to keep a person’s “minor” criminal records in their computer system. The information tribunal reached a verdict that the police were breaking data protection laws by holding criminal records for minor offences on the police national computer for decades after the offence.
This follows another similar ruling last year when a convicted shop lifter got his “minor” criminal record deleted after complaining that it was still stopping him from getting a job.
It seems as though millions of such records may need to be deleted from the police national computer now. I guess a criminal record isn’t as much of a deterrent as it used to be! The police commented “A crime may look very trivial, but it might still be of significance to a person’s potential behaviour,”.
Of the 5 cases the tribunal looked at, and ordered to be deleted, one was for stealing a 99p packet of meat in 1984, the offender was fined £15 at the time. Another was for a charge of assault committed when the person was 13, now at age 20 it was disclosed in her job application. So, it doesn’t look like we’re opening the flood gates just yet, but the thin edge of the wedge perhaps? And for the rest of us who managed to get through teenage life without committing a crime, what do we get? Oh, we also don’t get a criminal record.
Another battle is ensuing over the breach of data protection laws with regards to DNA evidence. Currently the police are keeping DNA files of persons who were charged with a crime but not convicted. Basically, if the police say they think you did something and ask for a DNA swab to eliminate you as a suspect they keep that record forever. That’s a different kettle of fish to deleting minor criminal records in my opinion.