Right to find out and be provided with information about you
Under the Laws of England and Wales there are various statutory instruments which enable you to have access to various forms of information that are held about you. The two pieces of legislation enabling you to do this are as follows:
The Freedom of Information Act 2000
The Data Protection Act 1998
The Data Protection Act provides individuals with the right to find out what personal information the UK Criminal Justice System might hold about them.
A request for personal information under the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 is called a subject access request.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000
The Freedom of Information Act provides individuals with the right to ask for official information held by public authorities such as the police and other criminal justice organisations.
Subject access request under the Data Protection Act 1998
How do I organise a subject access request under the Data Protection Act?
If you wish to find out and obtain a copy of what information the police hold about you then you should contact the police directly with a request in writing. Often the police will have standard forms which you will need to complete in order to be provided with information about yourself. You can download these from police websites.
To which police force should I make my request for information?
An individual who wishes to be provided with information from the police concerning themselves should apply to their local police force. Each local police force will be able to access information which is held centrally on the police databases.
What else must I provide to the police before they will allow my request?
Once a request has been made in writing or once the correct form has been completed the following other information should be provided to the local police force:
Proof of your identity – the specific form of identification required will be detailed on the police application form
A payment of £10 – this is the maximum payment that can be requested and covers all kinds of information that can be requested
A photograph – this will only be necessary if the request relates to access to CCTV footage
The police will only fulfill your request once they have been provided with enough information which they reasonably need to identify you and find the specific information which you want.
Is there any other information which they may ask from me before providing me with the information?
What information will be required by the police to find the specific information you have requested will be detailed on the specific police application form which you will be required to complete.
General information they may ask you will relate to the following:
When you have been in contact with the police
For what reason you were in contact with the police
If you have previously lived in another part of the UK
For more information on:
- Will there be any reason for the police to refuse my request?
- When would this usually be the case?
- Information relating to other people
- How long will it take to receive the information?
- What happens if I have not had been provided with the information or have not been provided with a response?
- Are there any other Criminal Justice organisations which may hold information about me?
- Access to information under the Freedom of Information Act
- How long does the public authority have to respond?
- What happens if they do not respond during this time?
- Information previously released