Police: Biometrics

Home Office written question – answered on 8th January 2018.

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Photo of Lord Scriven Lord Scriven Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the police can automatically wipe custody images and facial biometrics at the point when a person is determined to be innocent; and if not, why not, and whether that is based on costs; and what are the costings that have been used to make that judgement.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department

The police in England and Wales cannot at present automatically wipe facial images at the point when a person is determined to be innocent.

This is because information about the outcome of a person’s case is held on the Police National Computer (PNC), while images are initially captured on 43 local force custody systems. In most cases, images are also loaded to the Police National Database (PND), hence a person may have multiple images across the 43 local systems and PND. Therefore, automatic deletion based on the PNC record could not be done without upgrading both the local custody systems and PND.

There is no centrally held information on the cost of such an upgrade.

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