00:27 GMT04 March 2021
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    An error occurred earlier this month, when biometric evidence from thousands of arrest records, including fingerprints and DNA, were accidentally erased in a massive software glitch.

    "So, first of all, let me just clarify this - this is a coding issue", Home Secretary Priti Patel said. "We talk about a figure of 400,000 but the actual figure could actually be a lot less".

    The error that occurred a week ago also created major problems for the visa system, temporarily freezing the processing of applications, which had to be checked with the PNC.

    Police watch as commuters pass through Manchester Victoria railway station in Manchester England, which has reopened for the first time since the terror attack on the adjacent Manchester Arena Tuesday May 30, 2017
    © AP Photo / Owen Humphreys/PA
    Police watch as commuters pass through Manchester Victoria railway station in Manchester England, which has reopened for the first time since the terror attack on the adjacent Manchester Arena Tuesday May 30, 2017

    The incident reportedly happened as the police purged their databases of excess information during a so-called "weeding" session. While the DNA and fingerprints of convicts are stored indefinitely, some information is deleted automatically by the software. For instance, the data of people arrested and released (or acquitted at trial) is usually kept for three years.

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