Old criminal records of minor offences are a valuable tool in the fight against crime and must not be deleted from the national computer database, Humberside Police have told the Court of Appeal.
The force has joined with four others to challenge a ruling by the Information Commissioner, endorsed by an Information Tribunal, that the holding of such records does not comply with the Data Protection Act.
Sir Michael Bichard, who headed the inquiry after the Soham murders, had recommended keeping information on a central register after it was found that Ian Huntley had “slipped through the net” when he applied for a job as a school caretaker, said Mr Jones.
The barrister said the police were under increasing pressure to have such information removed, including fingerprints and DNA samples.
“The tribunal found that the distress would be occasioned by the fear that career prospects would be hampered by the disclosure of the convictions. This may well be so, but the distress arises as a result of the duty of an applicant to disclose all criminal history in any job application,” he told the court.
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