What is the Police National Computer?(PNC)

The Police National Computer (PNC) is the main database which is used by the Police force in the United Kingdom. This plays a vital role during the DBS checking process, as we will discuss below.

police national computer

What is on the Police National Computer?

The Police National Computer (PNC) contains numerous databases which have information relevant to policing.

It is used to help investigations, sharing information about both local and national importance, provides real-time checks on individuals, vehicles, crimes, property and also when following Schengen Information System II Alerts, which include:

  • Persons Wanted for Extradition (Found in Article 26).
  • Missing Persons (Found in Article 32).
  • People Wanted for Judicial Purposes (Found in Article 34).
  • People or Vehicles Requiring Discreet Checks (Found in Article 36).
  • Misappropriated, Lost or Stolen Objects Sought for the Purposes of Seizure or Evidential Purposes (Found in Article 38).

Who Can Access the PNC?

All Police forces and law enforcement agencies across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, The Isle of Man and The Channel Islands have access to the Police National Computer, but it’s not just law enforcement agencies who can access it.

A number of other agencies have permission, such as The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), the HM Prison Service, HMRC, The House of Commons, The House of Lords, The Home Office and the Royal Mail.

Why Does the PNC Hold Information?

A person’s PNC record contains a list of:

  • Full Names.
  • Date of Birth.
  • Sex.
  • Ethnicity.
  • Arrest summons number, which is also stored in their record on the National DNA Database.
  • Whether a DNA sample has been taken.
  • The Arresting Officer.
  • Convictions or Arrests.

Regarding individuals, the PNC may also hold additional information relating to people of interest to UK Law Enforcement Agencies because they:

  • Have convictions or cautions for criminal offences (Including youth warnings/reprimands).
  • Are wanted by authorities.
  • Possess a firearm certificate.
  • Have court orders made against them.
  • Are missing or have been found.
  • Have absconded from specified institutions (such as prison).
  • Have been disqualified from driving by a court.
  • Have a driver record held at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
  • Are subject to the legal process, such as waiting to appear in court.

Can I Check the PNC?

An individual can check the PNC, but only in relation to their own, personal information, or if they have express authority to do so by another individual.

How Long are Records Kept on the PNC?

Since 2006, all police records of arrest have been kept on the PNC unless an individual can show an ‘exceptional case’ for the removal of their record. Anyone who is arrested and an offence is recorded will have a record created on the Police National Computer (PNC) which will be retained until they reach age 100.

Can You Delete Records From the PNC?

It is possible to have items deleted from the PNC if the individual can provide evidence of good grounds for deletion.

If they can prove that a police caution was unlawfully issued, or that it is not in the public interest, the caution may be deleted from the PNC, but it is not a certainty.

How Does Information Held on the PNC Affect a DBS Check?

As mentioned, the PNC holds information regarding convictions against an individual, including both spent and unspent ones.

When a DBS Check is submitted, the PNC is checked, regardless of whether it is a Basic, Standard, or Enhanced DBS request.

  • A Basic DBS check will show unspent convictions and/or conditional cautions.
  • A Standard or Enhanced DBS Check will show both spent and unspent convictions/cautions.

Therefore, the PNC plays a large role in any, and every, DBS check which is done! The information on the PNC can help employers decide on whether they should hire the candidate once they receive the results of the DBS certificate.

The Wrap-Up

So, there is our guide to what is the police national computer. If you have other questions about anything relating to the DBS, the answer to your question may be on our help and advice page.

If you want to request a specific blog post, please leave it in the comments below!

To get in touch regarding DBS Checks with Aaron’s Department, feel free to give one of our experts a call on 0113 877 0171, or email contact@aaronsdepartment.com

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