Personal information is managed in accordance with the following legislation and policy:
Reference will also be made to relevant case law and to legal guidance and codes of practice issued by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
The person ultimately responsible for the management of personal information by West Midlands Police is the Chief Constable. All employees of West Midlands Police act as the representatives and agents of the Chief Constable.
West Midlands Police has notified the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) that personal information is held and used for the following purposes:
Policing: the prevention and detection of crime; apprehension and prosecution of offenders; protection of life and property; maintenance of law and order; also rendering assistance to the public in accordance with force policies and procedures
Provision of necessary services to support the Policing Purpose including:
Staff administration; occupational health & welfare; management of public relations, journalism & media; management of finance; internal review, accounting and auditing; training; property management; insurance management; vehicle & transport management; payroll & benefits management; management of complaints; vetting; management of IT; legal services; information provision; licensing and registration; pension administration; research, including surveys; performance management; sports & recreation; procurement; planning; system testing; security; health & safety management.
Full details of West Midlands Police notification can be obtained from the ICO’s website.
Disclosure or passing of personal information to other organisations or individuals is strictly controlled. There are some occasions when we will pass personal information to other official agencies because we are required to do so by law or because that agency has a legitimate reason supported by legislation to be given the information. For example: the Health and Safety Executive when investigating accidents, the Inland Revenue when investigating tax fraud and Social Services when considering child protection and welfare.
The Police work in partnership with other agencies to reduce crime and disorder, reduce the fear of crime and protect the vulnerable. In order to work together it is necessary to share information. Often this information is about crime figures or areas where crime or disorder is a particular problem. However, sometimes it is necessary to share personal information to tackle a particular problem involving an identified offender or victim. Sometimes information is shared to assist the partner agency in carrying out their lawful functions, but only when it is necessary and proportionate to do so. Agencies we work in partnership with include:
The Data Protection Act provides the right for the individual to request a copy of personal information held about them by a data controller. This is known as 'subject access' (see Section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998).
If you would like to request a copy of your personal information which may be held by West Midlands Police you are required to complete a subject access application form.
Many people need this information as part of their application for visas, residency or work permits for countries abroad. You will be asked to complete an ACRO SA1 in order to provide the information necessary to search against police records. You will also be required to provide two documents that prove your identity and a fee of £10 is charged. More information is given on the form.
The Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office (ACRO) based at Fareham, Hampshire, carries out these checks on our behalf. When you complete this form you need to send it directly to ACRO and all queries about the progress of and response to your application must be made with ACRO.
ACRO will reply directly to you at the postal address you give on the form. The reply will take the form of a letter, which has a watermark and two blue bands to identify it as an authentic record.
The Data Protection Act requires that you are given a response to any request for your personal information within 40 days. On average, ACRO respond within 14-30 days. Occasionally, due largely to volumes, responses may take the full 40 day period.
Such a request is managed via subject access. You will be asked to complete an in-house data protection form WA162 in order to provide the information necessary to search against our records.
You will also be required to provide two documents that prove your identity and a fee of £10 is charged. More information is given on the form. You may make such a request through your solicitor if appropriate, and give your authority for the information to be disclosed directly to them.
Subject access does not entitle you to receive information that might identify another person, known as a third party. If possible and appropriate we may contact the third party and ask for their consent to disclose their information to you. If we cannot obtain their consent the information may be removed, in the case of whole documents, or obscured in the case of information contained within a document. The Data Protection Act requires that you are given a response to any request for your personal information within 40 days. We will always try to respond to your application in the early part of this period. However, if the enquiry is particularly complicated or there is a lot of information to locate, check and reproduce, the response may take the full 40-day period to reach you.
The Data Protection Act 1998 does contain some exemptions from providing information following a subject access request. In brief, those most likely to be relevant to information held by the police are:
Subject Access entitles you to computerised records, except when an exemption is relevant. Manual or paper records are included if they are held in a 'relevant filing system'. This term is used in the Data Protection Act 1998. Such a system will be managed in a way that is similar to a computer system so that specific information about a person is easily located, using indexes, reference numbers, file dividers etc.
It may be the case that information about you or provided by you is held by West Midlands Police in paper form and in an unstructured format, that is, it cannot be easily located without looking through large volumes of information. In this case you would have to specify exactly what the information is that you require. We may also refuse to provide such information if to locate, retrieve and extract it exceeds a total of 18 hours work (as specified under the Freedom of Information Act 2005 Fees Regulations). If the paper records held in an unstructured format relate to matters relating to your employment by West Midlands Police, the information is exempt from subject access.
The Data Protection Act contains a number of exemptions that may be applied to refuse disclosure of information. More information about these exemptions can be found on the Information Commissoners Office website. Please note that the legislation does not require that the applicant is informed when an exemption has been applied.
You cannot be forced by an employer to make a subject access application in order to provide to them proof of your criminal record. In the near future it will become an offence under the Data Protection Act 1998 for an employer to require an employee or candidate for employment to make a subject access request for this purpose. Most types of employment are subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, meaning that a person does not need to declare a conviction if a certain amount of time has passed and no further offences have been committed.
If you chose to make a subject access request for this purpose you should make an application using form ACRO SA1. However, you should be aware that the response will include all conviction records, including any that you are not required to declare to an employer under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.
The government agency Disclosure Scotland provides a Basic Check which includes only those convictions that a person would have to declare. You can apply for this check yourself by going to www.disclosurescotland.co.uk/ or calling 0870 609 6006.
Please see the next questions if your work will involve access to children, vulnerable adults or the elderly.
You should not use the subject access procedures if your work will involve these categories of people. The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) has been established by the Home Office to provide employers with a means of checking the criminal background of potential employees.
If you will be working or volunteering with children, vulnerable adults or the elderly you should ask your employer to contact the Criminal Records Bureau on 0870 9090811 or go to the Criminal Records Bureau website.
If you are self-employed and will have access to children or vulnerable adults you should seek advice from the Criminal Records Bureau. A number of employment/recruitment agencies have become registered bodies and can facilitate a CRB check for you – they may charge an administration fee.
The Data Protection Act 1998 gives you the right to request that inaccurate information is corrected or deleted. You can also request that your information is no longer used or held if you can show that you are being caused significant and unwarranted damage or distress. In some cases you might be entitled to compensation.
Making such a request will not automatically result in the information being changed or removed. If West Midlands Police can show that the information is necessary and relevant to its lawful and legitimate functions as a police force the information will be retained.
These are the options you can take:
The Information Commissioners Office