The Information Tribunal has ruled that five police forces in the United Kingdom must delete the criminal records of five individuals from the Police National Computer, which contains records of millions of people convicted, cautioned or reprimanded for a crime. The Tribunal’s ruling upholds a decision (pdf) by the UK Information Commissioner that found the retention of the convictions data violated the Data Protection Act. According to the Times UK:
The forces had appealed against a ruling by the Information Commissioner that they remove information about minor crimes because storing it breached data protection laws. Mick Gorrill, assistant commissioner at the Information Commissioner’s Office, said: “We welcome the ruling, which upholds our view that there is no justification for this old conviction data to be held by the police.
"We believe that this is a landmark ruling which will have wider implications for police forces around the country and will ensure that irrelevant details of old criminal convictions are deleted. Those concerned were caused harm and distress by the retention of this data.”
The Times UK also notes that "The ruling opens the way for all those who have been convicted of a minor offence when young, and who have since remained out of trouble, to apply for their record to be removed from the Police National Computer."