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Millions of people who reported crimes have had their details stored on police databases.

The revelation has emerged from information provided in response to a freedom of information request from the Press Association. It shows that police forces in England and Wales have kept data about people who call 999 or non-emergency numbers to report their concerns or pass on information.

The study discovered that West Midlands Police has more than a million records on people who have reported offences over the past 12 years.

Other forces, including Lancashire, Cleveland, Avon and Somerset, Gloucestershire, West Mercia and North Wales, hold more than 150,000 each.

The Press Association said that senior officers admitted the information could be used against people as part of any future police investigation. However, they insisted gathering the data was necessary to fight crime, protect the vulnerable and ensure concerns were dealt with properly.

Ian Readhead, director of information at the Association of Chief Police Officers, told the Press Association that forces should only record information relevant to a call. He added that most people would expect police to hold this type of data.

This article was originally published at Kable.

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