Andover’s MP has spoken out after 150,000 police records were wiped from the national system.

Kit Malthouse, who is also the Crime and Policing Minister, said that agencies are working “at pace” to recover the data, which includes fingerprints, DNA and arrest history records.

He said: "Earlier this week, a standad 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.”

The data loss was first reported by The Times, which found that the deletions had impacted on the visa system.

While ministers from the Home Office played down the impact of the deletions to public safety, one former police chief said that the deletions may be a “risk” to future investigations.

Former Cumbria police chief Stuart Hyde said the loss represents a “very large proportion” of the around 650,000 people arrested each year and is a “risk to public safety and a risk to the safeguarding of vulnerable people across the country”.

“In terms of the risk this creates clearly some of those people may be involved in subsequent offending and could only be identified through either fingerprints and DNA when they were subsequently brought to light. That may be only a few people, a handful, but nonetheless it still represents a risk,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“They (police officers) should expect that the providers of the software ensure that there isn’t a system that can automatically wipe what is essentially nearly a quarter of custody delivered DNA and fingerprints in one quick go.”

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said it was an “extraordinarily serious security breach” that “presents huge dangers for public safety”.

“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,” he added.

“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.”