Home Secretary Priti Patel must “take responsibility” for the wiping of 150,000 arrest records from police databases, Labour has said.
The records were accidentally wiped last week and they included fingerprint, DNA and arrest histories, according to The Times.
The newspaper says the technological blunder could allow offenders to go free, as evidence from crime scenes would not be flagged on the police national computer.
Labour had said the home secretary “must take responsibility” for the “extraordinarily serious security breach that presents huge dangers for public safety”.
Policing minister Kit Malthouse said: “Earlier this week, a standard housekeeping process that runs on the police national computer deleted a number of records in error.
“A fast time review has identified the problem and corrected the process so it cannot happen again.
“The Home Office, NPCC (National Police Chiefs’ Council) and other law enforcement partners are working at pace to recover the data.
“While the loss relates to individuals who were arrested and then released with no further action, I have asked officials and the police to confirm their initial assessment that there is no threat to public safety.
“I will provide further updates as we conclude our work.”
But Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “It’s not good enough for the home secretary to hide behind her junior minister on this when there has been such a major security breach on her watch.
“It’s now vital that she makes an urgent statement outlining the true scale of the issue, when ministers were informed and what the plan is to provide public reassurance.
“Yet again Conservative incompetence is putting people’s safety at risk.”