ICO order fuels criminal record retention disagreement

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has ordered four police forces to delete old criminal convictions from the Police National Computer (PNC).

But the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has hit back at the ICO's decision to publicise the order, as it is still pending a tribunal decision due early in the New Year.

"Personal data processed for any purpose should be adequate, relevant and not excessive, and should not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose," it stated. And, after investigating complaints from four individuals, the ICO has issued Enforcement Notices to Humberside, Northumbria, Staffordshire and West Midlands Police.

Mick Gorrill, assistant commissioner for the ICO, who also held the rank of detective superintendent in the police prior to retiring after thirty years service, said: '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 nearly 30 years. The offences were non custodial and we believe there is no justification in terms of policing purposes for retaining the information. The retention of the previous conviction information is causing harm and distress to the individuals concerned. I. We are not satisfied that in these particular cases this information will be of any use for policing purposes."

"In view of this, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Forces involved do not think it is appropriate to comment on the cases, either individually or collectively."

The ICO had not yet responded to the ACPO statement at time of writing.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.