People who are arrested and have No Further Action (“NFA”) taken against them or who are charged with a criminal offence but subsequently acquitted at court will have these facts recorded against them on their Police National Computer (“PNC”) record. This means that anyone who has cause to view that person’s PNC record will be aware that the person was once suspected of and/or put on trial for a criminal offence. For those who wish to avoid that from happening, it is possible to request that the information be deleted from the PNC.
An application for deletion of such non-conviction data from the PNC is made on an application form via the organisation ACRO, who will triage the application and then forward it to the police force that owns the data. The police force will then consider the request and make its decision, which will be communicated to the applicant via ACRO.
The applicable guidance that the police will use to determine the application is contained in the document Deletion of Records form National Police Systems (PNC/NDNAD/IDENT1) and is available online here.
In summary, the guidance stipulates that applicants should support their application for deletion of the information by reference to one or more of the following reasons:
- Unlawfully taken (this only applies to requests to delete DNA and fingerprints)
- Mistaken identity / unlawful arrest
- No crime
- Malicious / false allegation
- Proven alibi
- Incorrect disposal
- Suspect status not clear at time of arrest
- Judicial recommendation
- Another person convicted of the offence
- Public interest
If you have non-conviction information recorded against you on the PNC that you need to have deleted, specialist legal advice should be sought on how best to frame your arguments using one of the reasons above and the evidence that should be presented in support of your argument. It should be noted that an NFA disposal or a not guilty verdict at court does not in and of itself provide justification for the deletion of this information.
The recent case of R (on the application of YZ) V Chief Constable of South Wales  EWHC 1060 (Admin) makes it clear that these cases are highly fact-specific and require an applicant to support their application for deletion by giving reasons for it. The case also re-states the principle that it is ultimately for the police as the “data-controller” to demonstrate that the data is retained in compliance with Data Protection Act 2018 and that the processing of the data is “lawful and fair”.
If you have information on your PNC record that you want to explore the possibility of having deleted, call us on 0808 252 5231 to speak to one of our specialist crime solicitors for an initial consultation, free of charge.