The Data Protection Act 2018 provides that individuals have a 'right of access' to 'personal data' that any organisation holds about them. Information that the police hold about you on their local and national systems is personal data and you are entitled to ask for a copy of this information to check that it is correct – a process that is commonly known as 'making a subject access request'.
Information held about you on local policing systems
You can request this information directly from your local police. Most forces have their own application forms that will help you understand what details you need to provide so they can find the information you would like. These forms can be helpful, although you don't have to make your request using these, you can ring, email or write in, whichever you choose. Please see the link to the ICO website in Related Information. This provides details of the information you will need to include when you make your request:
You will receive a response to your request within one month of sending it. There is no charge for this service.
Although the police will consider every request, they are under no obligation to provide all of the data and there are exceptions to providing data e.g. if it is likely to jeopardise an investigation.
Information that is held about you on national policing systems, for example on the Police National Computer
If you would like to obtain a copy of the information that the police hold about you, on their national systems, to check that it is correct, then you will need to make your request to ACRO. Please see Related Information to a link that you can you use to make your request:
ACRO - Subject Access
ACRO will provide you with a certificate. This certificate will either:
· state there is no information held about you on the police national computer; or
· it will list the details of convictions whether they are spent or not (see Q), intelligence matters including not guilty verdicts, cautions reprimands, final warnings, no further action decisions and fixed penalty notices for disorder.
Such certificates are NOT acceptable for employment vetting. If an employer or course administrator insists that you get this information via this check in order to show him/her the results for employment vetting, then he/she commits an offence. The correct process for obtaining a copy of your convictions or cautions for pre-employment vetting purposes is to contact the Disclosure and Barring Service or Disclosure Scotland. See Q624 for information on this.
If you need a check of your criminal records for immigration/emigration purposes, please see Q542.