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The Data Protection Act 1998 allows you to find out what information is held about you on a computer, and some paper records. This is known as a "Right of Subject Access". 

It also states that people recording and using personal information must be open about how the information is used. 

Our Chief Constable is registered with the lnformation Commissioner as a 'data controller'. The Chief Constable is obliged to ensure that West Midlands Police handles all personal information in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Why do we handle personal information?

We obtain, hold, use and disclose personal information for policing purposes including:

  • Preventing and detecting crime
  • Apprehending and prosecuting offenders
  • Protecting life and property
  • Preserving order
  • Maintaining law and order
  • Rendering assistance to the public in accordance with force policies and procedures
  • Any duty or responsibility arising from common or statute law

We obtain, hold, use and disclose personal information to support policing purposes including:

  • Staff administration, occupational health and welfare
  • Management of public relations, journalism, advertising and media
  • Management of finance
  • Internal review, accounting and auditing
  • Training
  • Property management
  • Insurance management
  • Vehicle and transport management
  • Payroll and benefits management
  • Management of complaints
  • Vetting
  • Management of information technology systems
  • Legal services
  • Information provision
  • Licensing and registration
  • Pensioner administration
  • Research, including surveys 
  • Performance management
  • Sports and recreation
  • Procurement
  • Planning
  • System testing 
  • Security 
  • Health and safety management

What types of personal information do we handle?

We may obtain, use and disclose personal information relating to or consisting of the following:

  • Personal details such as name, address and biographical details
  • Family, lifestyle and social circumstances
  • Education and training details
  • Employment details
  • Financial details
  • Goods or services provided
  • Racial or ethnic origin
  • Political opinions
  • Religious or other beliefs of a similar nature
  • Trade union membership
  • Physical or mental health or condition
  • Sexual life
  • Offences (including alleged offences)
  • Criminal proceedings, outcomes and sentences
  • Physical identifiers including DNA, fingerprints and other genetic samples
  • Sound and visual images
  • Licenses or permits held
  • Criminal Intelligence
  • References to manual records or files
  • Information relating to health and safety
  • Complaint, incident and accident details.

We will only use appropriate personal information necessary to fulfil a particular purpose or purposes. 

Personal information could be information which is held on a computer or a paper record.  It can also include other types of electronically held information such as CCTV.

Where do we obtain personal information from?

We may obtain personal information from a wide variety of sources, including the following:

  • Other law enforcement agencies
  • HM Revenue and Customs
  • International law enforcement agencies and bodies
  • Licensing authorities
  • Legal representatives
  • Prosecuting authorities
  • Defence solicitors
  • Courts
  • Prisons
  • Security companies
  • Partner agencies involved in crime and disorder strategies
  • Private sector organisations working with the police in anti-crime strategies
  • Voluntary sector organisations
  • Approved organisations and people working with the police
  • Independent Police Complaints Commission
  • Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary
  • Auditors
  • Central government, governmental agencies and departments
  • Emergency services
  • Individuals themselves
  • Relatives, guardians or other persons associated with the individual
  • Current, past or prospective employers of the individual
  • Healthcare, social and welfare advisers or practitioners
  • Education, training establishments and examining bodies
  • Business associates and other professional advisors
  • Employees and agents of West Midlands Police
  • Suppliers, providers of goods or services
  • Persons making an enquiry or complaint
  • Financial organisations and advisors
  • Credit reference agencies
  • Survey and research organisations
  • Trade, employer associations and professional bodies
  • Local government
  • Voluntary and charitable organisations
  • Ombudsmen and regulatory authorities
  • The media 
  • Data Processors working on behalf of West Midlands Police.

We may also obtain personal information from other sources such as our own CCTV systems, or correspondence.

Whose personal information do we handle?

We may obtain, use and disclose personal information relating to a wide variety of individuals including the following:

  • Staff including volunteers, agents, temporary and casual workers
  • Suppliers
  • Complainants, correspondents and enquirers
  • Relatives, guardians and associates of the individual concerned
  • Advisers, consultants and other professional experts
  • Offenders and suspected offenders
  • Witnesses
  • Victims
  • Former and potential members of staff, pensioners and beneficiaries
  • Other individuals necessarily identified in the course of police enquiries and activity.

We will only use appropriate personal information necessary to fulfil a particular purpose or purposes. 

Personal information could be held on a computer or in a paper record.  It can also include other types of electronically held information such as CCTV.

How do we handle personal information?

We will handle personal information in accordance with the Data Protection Act. 

We will ensure that personal information is handled fairly and lawfully with appropriate justification. 

We will strive to ensure that any personal information used by us or on our behalf is of the highest quality in terms of accuracy, relevance, adequacy and non-excessiveness.  It will also be kept as up-to-date as required, is protected appropriately, and is reviewed, retained and securely destroyed when no longer required. 

We will also respect individuals' rights under the Act.

How long do we retain personal information?

We keep personal data as long as is necessary for the particular purpose or purposes for which it is held. 

Personal data which is placed on national police systems namely, the Police National Computer, National DNA Database or National Fingerprint Database is managed in accordance with NPCC Deletion of Records from National Police Systems.

Other records containing personal data relating to crime recording, domestic violence, child abuse investigation, public protection, missing persons, case and custody, incident records, firearms licensing and intelligence will be retained in accordance with the Authorised Professional Practice on the Management of Police Information.

We may monitor or record and retain telephone calls, texts, emails and other electronic communications to the force in order to deter, prevent and detect inappropriate or criminal activity and to ensure security.

We do not place a pre-recorded 'fair processing notice' on telephone lines that may receive emergency calls (including misdirected ones) because of the risk of harm that may be caused by the delay in response to the call.

Who do we disclose personal information to?

We may disclose personal information to a wide variety of recipients in any part of the world, including those from who personal information is obtained. 

This may include other law enforcement agencies, partner agencies working on crime reduction initiatives, partners in the Criminal Justice arena, Victim Support, and IT contractors or survey organisations working on our behalf. We may also disclose information to prevent harm to individuals.

Disclosure of personal information will be made on a case-by-case basis with necessary controls in place.

Some groups that we disclose personal information to are situated outside of the European Union.  They may not have laws that protect data protection rights as extensively as in the United Kingdom. We will take proper steps to ensure that it is adequately protected as required by the Act.

We will also disclose personal information to other bodies or individuals when required to do so by an act of legislation, rule of law, or by court order. This may include disclosures to the Child Support Agency, the National Fraud Initiative, Home Office and to the Courts.

We may also disclose personal information on a discretionary basis for the purpose of any legal proceedings or for obtaining legal advice.

How can I complain about how my information being used or disclosed?

If you have a complaint about how your information has been disclosed or used, please email our Information Security team at

If you want to make a Subject Access request, or want to request the removal of data, or have any other related queries, please email, or write to:

The Civil Disclosure Unit
West Midlands Police
PO Box 52
B4 6NQ

For all other Data Protection queries, including complaints, please email or write to:

Information Security & Assurance
West Midlands Police
PO Box 52
B4 6NQ



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