It is possible to apply for the deletion of police records from the Police National Computer (PNC), National Fingerprint Database (IDENT1) and the National DNA Database (NDNAD).

The  National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) call this process the “Record Deletion Process.” Locally held records, such as custody records and custody photos, are managed under the  Authorised Professional Practice (APP) – Information Management Policy.

Previously there was no coordinated procedure for the deletion of police records – previously you would need to write to the chief constable of the relevant police force and ask  for records, such as arrest records and police cautions, to be deleted.

The NPPC has created a process whereby applications for deletion are sent through a centralises unit called  the National Records Deletion Unit which is part of ACRO’s Criminal Records Office.

You cannot use the early records deletion process for the deletion of court convictions – if you wish to remove a conviction you will need to challenge the conviction at Court. For more information on appeals please visit here: Criminal Defence Solicitors

Biometric Data

If you have been convicted (including cautioned) of a criminal of an offence you will not have an automatic right to have your Biometric data records deleted. Biometric data is your DNA profile and fingerprints. If you were a youth at the time your fingerprints and DNA will be deleted after five years (plus the length of any custodial sentence), or indefinitely if your custodial sentence was five years or more or if you have two convictions.

If you were not convicted of an offence, even if you were charged, you have a right to have your biometric records deleted. The period after which records will be deleted are set out according to the type of offence, and in some cases can be extended if an application is made to extend the period of retention. For example if you were arrested or charged, but not convicted/cautioned, with a minor offence, then your biometric records will be deleted immediately (although a speculative search will be undertaken prior to their destruction).

Early Deletion Biometric information and PNC record

You can apply to have your biometric data deleted earlier than the proscribed retention time frames if you can provide good reasons for doing so and a chief officer agrees.

You can also use the record deletion process to delete PNC records, including expunging police cautions and arrest records, providing you can evidence good grounds for the record’s removal as set out by the NPCC. There is no automatic right to the deletion of an arrest record and/or caution. It is possible for a police caution to be expunge but the police to retain the PNC arrest record. The law and procedure in respect of the issuing of police cautions is different from the law in respect of the retention of police arrest records. For information in respect of the police caution procedure please visit here: Police Caution Procedure.

Grounds for Early Deletion

The grounds for early deletion have been set out by the NPCC as follows:

  • Unlawfully Taken. Where you believe your DNA or fingerprints were taken unlawfully. For example this might apply if your arrest was unlawful.
  • Mistaken Identity. Where you believe that your arrest was unlawful or was based on you being mistakenly identified.
  • Malicious/False Allegation. Where you have been arrested and charged, but the case has been withdrawn at any stage, and there is corroborative evidence that the case was based on a malicious or false allegation.
  • Proven Alibi. Where there is corroborative evidence that you have a proven alibi and as a result have been eliminated from the enquiry after being arrested.
  • Incorrect Disposal. Where the disposal options applied by the Police following your arrest are found to have been administered incorrectly. For example a police caution may have been improperly administered.
  • Suspect status not clear at the time of arrest. Where you were arrested at the outset of an enquiry where the circumstances and distinction between the offender, victim and witness is not clear, and you were subsequently eliminated as a suspect (but you may be a witness or victim).
  • Judicial Recommendation. If, in the course of court proceedings, a Magistrate or Judge makes a recommendation that your DNA, fingerprints or PNC record should be deleted.
  • Another person convicted of the offence. Where the conviction of another person for the offence may constitute grounds for the deletion of your DNA, fingerprints and PNC record.
  • Public Interest. Where you believe the Chief Officer should determine that there is a wider public interest to delete your DNA, fingerprints or PNC record.

Factors that will affect an application for record deletion are whether there are ongoing investigations or court proceedings; if there is an application to extend a retention period in respect of biometric data; if there are other court convictions; the reasons for making a No Further Action (NFA) disposal, namely the police may have felt you were culpable but could not prove the allegation; non-conviction out-comes, again the police may take a view that although a an allegation was not provable according to the criminal standard (beyond all reasonable doubt/so that it is sure) they strongly feel it is likely that you were guilty; positive evidence of being eliminated as a suspect – if there is compelling evidence showing you were not the guilty party then this will tend to support deletion;  or  the Retention of biometric information due to previous conviction.

Police Caution, Arrest Record and Biometric Information Deletion Solicitors

If you have been issued with a police caution, then we may be able to get it removed. We have successfully argued for the removal of many police cautions and arrest records. See here for a recent history of successfully police caution removals: Police caution removals.

If you are concerned by the retention of DNA/fingerprint data then please get it touch, we are able to apply for the early deletion of biometric records.

We charge reasonable fixed fees for our services. Please get in touch today to speak to a specialist police records deletion solicitor.

Where the police refuse to remove records, then we have extensive experience of issuing judicial review proceedings to challenge a police decision to retain police cautions, arrest records and biometric data.