Can I have a record deleted from the Police National Computer?

Written 5th April 2024 by Eleanor Harris

What is the Police National Computer (PNC)?

The PNC is a computer system used by the police and other UK law enforcement organisations. The PNC records details of convictions, cautions, reprimands, warnings, and arrests. Most people are unaware, and shocked to learn, that an individual’s record on the PNC is retained until their 100th birthday.

PNC records can be created by any police force operating in any jurisdiction within the United Kingdom, and records held on the PNC contains information not just about convictions, but information about non-conviction outcomes – for example, ‘Not Guilty’ outcomes at Court, acquittals, discontinuances, and ‘No Further Action’ disposals.

Can convictions be deleted from PNC?

Individuals with a court conviction cannot apply to have their record deleted under the record deletion process from the PNC.

Can non-conviction information be deleted from PNC?

It is possible, however, to apply to have non-conviction records deleted. A person can apply to have a record of a caution deleted, but this will only be successful under exceptional circumstances, and a person cannot apply to have a record deleted if the investigation into them is still ongoing. If there are several events that an individual would like to apply to have deleted from their PNC, then this must be made clear in the application, and each event must be addressed in turn.

What will the police consider in determining whether to remove a record from PNC?

Whether or not the application for record removal is successful lies at the discretion of the Chief Officer of the relevant police force. Every request will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the owning force. It is important to draw upon the grounds for record deletion within the application, as otherwise this may be refused on the grounds that the police want to retain this information for “policing purposes”. Only if the quoted grounds are examined and accepted by the Chief Officer will the record(s) be deleted, therefore, it is important to contact Olliers to properly evidence these grounds, should you wish to instigate the record deletion process. Olliers can then draft this application for record removal, drawing upon the official grounds for record deletion.

What can I do if my record deletion application is refused?

If this application for record removal is refused, and you do not agree with the decision, then there may be an option to appeal. It is advised that you do this within three months of receiving the original decision – this is not necessarily a set deadline, but the police do outline that an appeal should be made within 3 months.

Individuals are encouraged to set out their representation in a comprehensive and structured manner, and to provide any evidence which was not previously provided within the initial application, otherwise this may be rejected. A submission that simply re-states the evidence initially provided, or simply disagrees with the Chief Officer’s decision will not be accepted, therefore, it is important to get legal advice before submitting an appeal.

Therefore, this will need to include evidence that was not submitted in the original application; this is where Olliers can help – there have been instances where a client has submitted an application themselves, without addressing the grounds for removal, instructed Olliers for a PNC record deletion appeal, and the information has ultimately been deleted from their PNC.

Olliers Solicitors – specialist lawyers for removal of arrest records from PNC

Olliers Solicitors are a leading PNC arrest removal law firm and we are able to assess whether you meet the criteria for an application of deletion of your PNC record and make such application for you. We have successfully applied for the deletion of record of arrest(s) on behalf of numerous clients who understandably do not wish for the same to be retained when they have never been convicted of a crime. Please complete the form below and we will contact you, email or contact us by telephone on 020 38836790 (London) or 0161 8341515 (Manchester).

Eleanor Harris

Eleanor Harris



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