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How long will my information stay on Police Record?

View profile for Zara Cowan
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The Police National Computer (PNC) holds all records of arrests and summons, regardless of the outcome, and is kept until the individual is 100 years old.

DNA samples/profiles and fingerprints can be taken and retained as set out in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. The length of time that this biometric data is kept is dependent on the conviction or outcome of the case.

An individual can apply for the early deletion of records from databases held by The Criminal Records Office. These databases are the National DNA Database, National Fingerprint Database, and the Police National Computer.

Does having a police record affect my chances of getting a job?

It is important to note that The Criminal Records Office is a separate entity to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), and they do not have any involvement in the information disclosed on a DBS certificate. On an enhanced DBS certificate the police have a responsibility to disclose certain information, but this process is entirely separate to the record deletion process.

Can I apply to have my police record deleted?

There is a process by which an individual can apply to have their PNC or biometric information deleted.

Eligibility to apply is dependent on certain criteria; detailed below is a list of circumstances in which you are eligible to apply:

  • You were issued with a Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND);
  • You were issued with a Final Warning as a juvenile;
  • You were arrested but not charged or convicted of a minor offence;
  • You were given, as an adult, a Caution or Conditional Caution;
  • You were issued with a Youth Caution or a Reprimand as a juvenile;
  • You were arrested and charged with a qualifying offence, but you were not convicted; or
  • You were arrested but not charged for a minor offence and given a Discontinuance.

There are over 400 qualifying offences including rape, murder, burglary, robbery, assault and other sexual offences.

What will they not delete off of my police record?

You are not eligible to apply to delete information in the following circumstances:

  • you have been convicted at court;
  • you were issued with a conditional or absolute discharge at court;
  • the information held on your arrest history is owned by the Police Service Northern Ireland or Police Scotland;
  • the record is held for Police Intelligence purposes;
  • the matter for which you were arrested is still under investigation;
  • you were charged with but not convicted of a qualifying offence, and biometrics have been approved for three-year retention by the Biometrics Commissioner; or
  • you were charged with but not convicted of a qualifying offence, and biometrics have been approved for two-year extension by a District Judge.

How can we help?

At Johnson Astills our specialist advocates in the Criminal Defence Team are highly experienced in dealing with all allegations at both the Magistrates’ and Crown Court.

If you find yourself facing any offence it is vital to contact a solicitor as soon as possible to obtain expert legal advice. Representation at the police station is free, and legal aid may be available for your case at the Magistrates’ and Crown Court. For offences which do not qualify for legal aid, we offer fixed fees for appointments and representation.