Criminals in the United Kingdom got a late Christmas gift when 150,000 arrest records were deleted from a major database after a mistake during routine maintenance.
Hopefully, the police reform advocates in the United States don’t get any ideas.
According to the Independent, the Police National Computer (PNC) is accessed 600 million times a year by officers, for information to support local, regional and national investigations.
Policing minister Kit Malthouse said that law enforcement officials were working to recover the data.
“While the loss relates to individuals who were arrested and then released with no further action, I have asked officials and the police to confirm their initial assessment that there is no threat to public safety,” he said.
In addition to records of arrests, the National Computer holds records of fingerprints, DNA and vehicles that law enforcement accesses in real time.
Malthouse said the deletion happened during a standard housekeeping process that runs on the computer.