The recent data loss by the Home Office is clearly a concern for the victims of crime which are currently being investigated, it has also been reported, quite rightly that this loss may have an impact on individuals, such as those in abusive relationships who, when seeking orders from the civil courts to protect them from further abuse, will be impacted if the data related to their reports to the police has been lost.
This issue is also likely to impact litigants who seek compensation related to failures by public authorities to have protected them from harm. When seeking to prove that a public body knew or ought to have known that an individual was at risk of suffering harm, it is common to rely on disclosure from the police of previous reports of alleged criminal activity.
In the case of children, or vulnerable adults who have reported abuse, often the police and Crown Prosecution Service are unable to proceed with a prosecution, not due to any disbelief of the complainant, but due to a likely difficulty in proving those allegations to the criminal standard of proof when often relying solely on the evidence of the complainant who may well be exceptionally vulnerable. These cases would be classified as - No Further Action by the police, the early reports regarding this data loss suggested that NFA records had been significantly affected by this data loss.
Therefore, it seems likely that this data loss will have significant and long-lasting effects for many individuals and will do harm to people who would previously have been able to rely on similar data in support of their attempts to protect themselves from further harm, or in seeking justice for failures to protect them from harm.
It is therefore hoped that the ongoing efforts to recover the lost data are as successful as possible so that these impacts can be minimised as much as possible.
The policing minister, Kit Malthouse, said in a written statement that a total of 209,550 offence records relating to 112,697 individuals had been deleted from the PNC, which is run by the Home Office and used by forces across the UK. That included the entire records of 15,089 people.