Data protection FAQs

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What laws and policies are relevant to personal data?

Personal information is managed in accordance with the following legislation and policy:

  • The Data Protection Act 1998
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Freedom of Information Act 2000
  • Computer Misuse Act 1990
  • Association of Chief Police Officers Code of Practice for Data Protection
  • Her Majesty's Government Manual for Protective Security
  • Statutory Code of Practice for the Management of Police Information

Reference will also be made to relevant case law and to legal guidance and codes of practice issued by the Office of the Information Commissioner.

Who is the Data Controller for British Transport Police?

The person ultimately responsible for the management of personal information held by British Transport Police is the Chief Constable.  All employees of British Transport Police act as the representatives and agents of the Chief Constable know as Data Processors.

Can I get a copy of my personal information?

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 find out whether British Transport Police has any personal information about you and you would like a copy of that information you can apply by contacting us using the following details

Application forms are available by writing to:

Information Governance Unit

British Transport Police

2nd Floor

3 Callaghan Square

Cardiff

CF10 5BT

Telephone number: 02920 525338

Alternatively, you can download an application form from the British Transport Police website.

Is there any reason why I will not get my information?

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:

Information held for the purpose of safeguarding national security.

Information held for the purpose of preventing and detecting crime, apprehending and prosecuting offenders BUT only when disclosure to the applicant might prejudice those purposes.

The police service will also consider whether to disclose information to an application might prejudice the wider public interest or might be relevant to current or future criminal proceedings in the courts.

Is Subject Access the same as 'vetting'?

No. Certain employers do insist on prospective employees applying for Subject Access as a method of vetting.  We sympathise with the reasoning behind this, but the Information Commissioner does not condone using Subject Access as a method of vetting.  It is a matter for the individual concerned to determine whether or not he/she wishes to apply.  Organisations who wish to make safer recruitment decisions by accessing criminal record information should contact the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Is Subject Access the same as obtaining a 'disclosure' from the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly CRB)?

No. The DBS is an executive agency of the Home Office.  It has been set up to provide wider access to criminal record information to help organisations make safer recruitment decisions.  The DBS assists employers in the public, private and voluntary sectors identify candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work, especially that involving contact with children or vulnerable member of society.

Can I use Subject Access to get hold of someone else's record?

No. The Subject Access process is confidential between the individual and the police.  We cannot provide you with the details of another person.

Do I have to complete a Subject Access Request to provide information to third parties?

Under Section 56 of the Data Protection Act, it is an offence for third parties to enforce individuals to make Subject Access Requests for personal data. The Information Commissioner’s Office has provided guidance on Section 56.

What is Disclosure Scotland?

Disclosure Scotland is available to anyone within the UK.  Disclosure Scotland is a government approved agency that provide suitable reports for employers showing any relevant convictions.  The reports exclude any convictions classified as 'spent' as they should not be relevant to an employment agreement.  Find out more by visiting the Disclosure Scotland website.

I have been asked to get a 'Memorandum of Conviction' by an embassy. How do I get one?

A 'Memorandum of Conviction' is a court record.  If you know the date you attended court, you can request this directly from the court.  If you do not know the date you can make a Subject Access Request through your local police force.  If you live outside of the UK, make the request to the local police force in the area where you were last a resident.

I made a Subject Access Request but have lost the result.  Can I get a duplicate?

Only if less than 40 days have passed since the original reply was sent.  Records can change over time (be added to, or deleted) so a duplicate may not be useful.  Another fee will have to be paid.

I've made a Subject Access Request but haven't received a reply.  What should I do?

We have up to 40 days from the date we received the request to give an official response.  If the 40 days have passes and you haven't heard anything, please call 02920 525338.  If there are any problems with your request we will contact you immediately.  You should receive an acknowledgement of your request in two weeks after submitting your application.

My insurers want me to get a copy of the crime report to support a claim.  How do I get hold of it?

Most insurance companies are now signatories to an agreement with police forces that allow direct disclosure of certain information by the police (but only with the consent of the victims involved).  The information that can be disclosed includes: basic crime details; complaint and investigating officer's details; crime assessment and how the crime is being investigated (where the information will not compromise a police investigation); victim details (applicant only) and property items.  Please note, offender details will only be provided at the discretion of British Transport  Police, if it is proven that the information is needed for legal proceedings or a court order has been obtained.

I would like to know what other information (other than convictions) is held about me by British Transport Police.  How can I find out?

Submit a Subject Access Request making it clear what you want to know.  British Transport Police holds a variety of information about individuals on different systems.  For example, you may be recorded as a victim of crime, a witness, an offender or a firearm certificate holder.  If an incident happened in another part of the country, you would need to contact the relevant police force and make another Subject Access Request.

What organisations/agencies will British Transport Police  pass my personal information to?

Disclosure or passing of personal information to other organisations/agencies 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.

What partners will British Transport Police share information with?

The sharing of personal information is covered by documents, known as protocols. These say who the sharing agencies are; when, why and what personal information might be shared and set out procedures for making and responding to requests for information and keeping the information secure.