Deletion of police records

[Image credit: “Day 165 – West Midlands Police – Arresting suspected offenders” by West Midlands Police is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

In 2006 the Association of Chief Police Officers, known as ACPO, founded a Criminal Records Office, now known as ACRO. The intention was for ACRO to organise the management of criminal record information and improve links between the records and biometric information.

ACRO’s principal functions are providing police certificates, international child protection certificates and responses to subject access requests that require the collection of information from the Police National Computer (PNC).

The PNC holds all records of arrests and summons, regardless of the outcome. The record is kept until the individual is 100 years old.

DNA samples/profile 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 ACRO.

These databases are the National DNA Database, National Fingerprint Database and the Police National Computer, records owned by chief officers of England and Wales. It is important to note that ACRO is a separate entity to the 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 (RDP)

Record Deletion Process

RDP is the 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 (see below), 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 murder, rape, assaults, robbery, burglary and sex offences. Minor offences are those which are not ‘qualifying offences’.

You are not eligible to apply if the following apply:
• 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?

We ensure we keep up to date with any changes in legislation and case law so that we are always best placed to advise you properly. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact any member of our vastly experienced Criminal Defence team, for assistance with any criminal law related matter.

Mr John Stokes (,
Mr Anthony Pearce ( or
Mr Daniel Woodman (

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