Headlines: November 2nd, 2007

Four police forces have been told by the Information Commissioner to delete old criminal convictions from the Police National Computer. Retention of the records is causing concern to the people involved and the Commissioner believes the information is no longer relevant. Enforcement Notices were issued after the complaints of four individual had been investigated.

Each case relates to individuals who have been convicted or cautioned on one occasion and have not been convicted of any other offences. A record is held by Humberside Police relating to the theft of a packet of meat valued at 99p stolen by a person under 18 years old. The person was fined 15 pounds. The incident took place in 1984. Another record is held by West Midlands Police relating to an offence of attempted theft which was committed over 25 years ago when the individual was fined 25 pounds. Staffordshire Police hold a record relating to a person under 14 years old who was cautioned by the police for a minor assault. The individual was told that the information would be deleted when she became 18. She has now been told that the record will not be deleted until she reaches 100 years of age.

The Commissioner said that the retention of the previous conviction information is causing harm and distress to the individuals concerned and he is not satisfied that it will be of any use for policing purposes.

The four police forces have appealed to the Information Tribunal against the Enforcement Notices which means that the information cannot be deleted until the outcome of the hearing is known.