The DNA and fingerprint profiles of over 800 terror suspects have been accidentally deleted by police and intelligence agencies.
Around one in 10 of the 8,000 suspected extremists in the UK had their forensic information removed from government databases due to “handling delays” and “procedural errors”, the UK’s Biometrics Commissioner has said.
Alastair MacGregor QC found in his annual report that hundreds of profiles were destroyed thanks to a failure to complete appropriate paperwork.
Under UK law, biometric material must be destroyed within six months if no charges are brought, however police and security services can apply to keep it for longer if they believe the suspect is dangerous enough.
Mr MacGregor said there were “repeated delays” in police transferring DNA data, while security services had “substantial delays” in assessing suspects.
The proportion of records destroyed was more than double that of the previous year, he adds. Keith Vaz, the Labour MP who chairs the Home Affairs Select Committee, told the Telegraph the report does “little for public confidence”.
“The Home Office must get a grip of how data is being managed to prevent issues like this from damaging our national security,” he added.