Privacy Advisor

Global Privacy Dispatches- UK- Criminal Conviction Records

December 1, 2007

By Eduardo Ustaran

Police Told to Delete Old Criminal Conviction Records

The ICO has ordered four police forces to delete old criminal convictions from the Police National Computer (PNC). The ICO is concerned that the old conviction information is held contrary to the principles of the Data Protection Act because the information is no longer relevant and is excessive for policing purposes.

According to ICO reports, each case relates to individuals who have been convicted or cautioned on one occasion and have not been convicted of any other offences. Some of the incidents date back almost 30 years. Since the offences were non-custodial, the ICO takes the view that there is no justification in terms of policing purposes for retaining the information. Therefore, after investigating complaints from four individuals, the ICO has issued Enforcement Notices to Humberside, Northumbria, Staffordshire and West Midlands Police. The police are appealing each case to the Information Tribunal, which means the information in question does not need to be deleted until after the appeal is determined.

Eduardo Ustaran is a Partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP, based in London. He may be reached at eduardo.ustaran@ffw.com.