Police in New Zealand say they can’t keep records of what they suspect of criminal activity.
The Auckland Regional Crime Unit (ARCU) said the information could help prevent people from committing offences.
It said the record is required by law but it was not required by police to be kept by law enforcement agencies.
“There is a statutory requirement for the police to keep certain types of records,” ARCU Director Detective Superintendent Scott Dix said.
“In New Zealand, the records are made available to the public through the Auckland Police Department and the Criminal Records Information Centre (CRIC).”
Mr Dix did not give an exact number of crimes he believed were committed.
“This is a very broad category of offences, and I would like to think that we can make it very clear that there is no need to have a criminal record.”
He said police would be able to search for criminal history information on a person’s social media profile.
“I think that there’s a reasonable expectation that we will be able find it,” he said.
Cr Dix told the Radio New Zealand program Crime Check he thought a person who was charged with a crime would have a better chance of avoiding being charged with one if they had a criminal history.
“You need to be aware of the law,” he added.
“It is not a good idea to have one.”
Cr DIX said it was possible to be charged with multiple offences and that it was also possible to have multiple convictions.
“The criminal record can be used to identify you in cases where you’re arrested or the charges are dropped,” he explained.
“If you are charged with four offences, you can be charged for four offences.”
He also said there was no reason why people would be reluctant to apply for a criminal records search, given the information that was available.
“Once you’re charged with something, if you don’t have a record, then it’s not something you can go to court about,” he noted.
“That’s why it is a good thing to have that information.”
He did not say how long the search would take.
Police said the service was unable to tell what crimes were committed and how many people had been convicted of them.
“All of the information is kept in a confidential, secure location, and we have strict security measures in place to protect the information,” ARCUNC chief executive officer Detective Superintendent Ian Stirling said.
“We will not reveal any of the criminal history of anyone.
We will only disclose information that we consider is relevant to the investigation.”
Cr Stirling added there was a requirement for people to register as sex offenders before they could apply for information about a record.
“Anybody who has a criminal conviction that they are seeking information about can’t get it unless they register as a sex offender,” he told Radio New Zealand.
The ARCU has been criticised in the past for its lack of action on issues like child sex abuse and mental health.
It was also accused of ignoring reports of violence against women, rape, child trafficking and trafficking in persons.