Oops! I did it again

Whilst MI5 gets accused of unlawfully handling their data, the police just lose theirs.

Home Office urged to explain 150,000 arrest records wiped in tech blunderThe Times
Priti Patel has been urged to explain an “extraordinarily serious security breach” after The Times revealed a technology blunder wiped more than 150,000 fingerprint, DNA and arrest history records off police databases. The error may allow offenders to go free because biometric evidence left at crime scenes will not be flagged up on the Police National Computer (PNC).

Priti Patel under fire as 150,000 police records accidentally lostThe Guardian
The Home Office released a statement from the policing minister, Kit Malthouse, but the shadow home secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, said this was not good enough and called on Patel to provide an urgent statement.

Don’t worry about it, though. They’ll have that deleted data back in no time.

Police scrambling to recover more than 150,000 records wiped from UK databaseThe Independent
The policing minister, Kit Malthouse, said Home Office and law enforcement officials were working “at pace 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 added. “A fast time review has identified the problem and corrected the process so it cannot happen again.”

Dratted ‘housekeeping’, eh? 150k+ records deleted off UK’s Police National Computer databaseThe Register
It is reported that Home Office staff are trying to get some of the deleted information back. This implies, strongly, that they cannot simply restore the deleted information from backup files.

Well, as has been pointed out on Twitter, accidents happen.

Britain destroyed records of colonial crimesThe Guardian
Review finds thousands of papers detailing shameful acts were culled, while others were kept secret illegally.

And happen.

114 child sex files linked to MPs have ‘vanished’Express
A total of 114 files linked to allegations of paedophile activity in Westminster may have been destroyed, MPs were told yesterday.

And happen.

Grenfell files ‘lost forever’ after laptop wiped, inquiry hearsITV News
Some emails, documents and design drawings relating to the Grenfell Tower refurbishment appear to have been lost forever after being wiped from a laptop, the inquiry into the fire has heard.

And happen.

Home Office destroyed Windrush landing cards, says ex-stafferThe Guardian
Evidence of UK arrivals discarded despite case worker protests, says former employee.

Update – 16/01/2021

A day later and that initial total is now seen as a little on the low side.

Starmer urges home secretary to ‘take responsibility’ as it emerges 400,000 police records deleted in ‘human error’Sky News
Home Secretary Priti Patel has come under fire since it was first reported by The Times that 150,000 records were lost, although it is now understood the figure is much higher. Some 213,000 offence records were wiped from the Police National Computer, along with 175,000 arrest records and 15,000 person records.

Police probes compromised after computer records deletedBBC News
[The letter from the National Police Chiefs’ Council] says that some of the records had been marked for indefinite retention following earlier convictions for serious offences. And it reveals that a “weeding system”, developed and deployed by a Home Office PNC team, started to delete records wrongly last November. The process was only brought to a halt at the start of this week. […]

It comes after about 40,000 alerts relating to European criminals were removed from the PNC following the UK’s post-Brexit security deal with the EU.

Author: Terry Madeley

Works with student data and enjoys reading about art, data, education and technology.

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