Everyone has the right to know what the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) does with information about them. This type of information is called personal data. This document sets out how PSNI uses personal data.
PSNI have to obey the law and there is a law which sets down rules for us about using people’s personal data called the Data Protection Act. The Chief Constable of the PSNI is responsible for making sure the PSNI obey this law.
1. What is personal data?
2. Why do the PSNI process personal data?
3. How do the PSNI process personal data?
4. Whose personal data do we handle?
5. Where does the information come from?
6. Who do the PSNI share personal information with?
7. Can people see what personal data, of theirs, that the PSNI have?
8. Can people change how the PSNI handle their data?
9. What age do I need to be to ask PSNI to give me information or change or delete my information?
11. Contact Us
The PSNI will process lots of different types of personal data, this includes, names, date of birth, address, your race, family and lifestyle information, education, your religious beliefs, details of any crime you have or may have committed, your health and your finances. This information may be kept, by PSNI, on a computer or in paper format.
It is the PSNI’s job to prevent and solve crimes. Therefore PSNI may sometimes need to use your personal data for our policing purposes and to support how we do our job. We also need to keep personal data about the staff who work for us, for example, the names of police officers that solve crimes.
The PSNI will only use personal data if it is lawful to do so. We will not use more data than we need to, or keep it longer then we need to. We also take measures to ensure that we keep this data safe. The PSNI have written many documents which tell us what to do with your personal data to make sure we do not break the law.
The PSNI may process personal data relating to a wide variety of people, some examples are:
- Victims and witnesses,
- People who have committed crimes,
- Family members,
- Our staff,
- Members of the public
The PSNI may obtain personal data from many places, some examples are:
- People themselves,
- Employees of the PSNI
- Other emergency services
- Courts and solicitors
The PSNI may have to share information with other organisations to make sure that they carry out their job properly. If PSNI have information that they need to share to keep a person or people safe, or to stop a crime from happening, they will. If this information is to be shared somewhere where the law is different than in Europe they will make sure they do so only if they know that the data is safe.
Yes, people can make what is called a subject access request to PSNI. This is where they ask to have a copy of some, or all, of the information that PSNI hold about them. Before the PSNI can provide someone with information we need to be sure that the person is who they say they are; therefore, people will be asked for ID. The PSNI will try to answer people’s queries within a month; however, it may take longer if there is a lot of information to look through.
Yes, people have a number of rights when it comes to their personal data. These rights will change depending on the reasons PSNI hold the data.
People can ask for the PSNI to fix information that is wrong and the PSNI will do so.
People can also ask the PSNI to delete or stop using their personal data. PSNI will investigate how they use the data and if they are allowed to keep using it in this way, in line with the law, they will keep using it.
People can also ask the PSNI not to make decisions about them by only using a computer system and can ask that a human being looks at the information.
Before the PSNI can look at someone’s information we need to be sure that the person is who they say they are. Therefore people will be asked for ID. The PSNI will try to answer people’s queries within a month; however, it may take longer if there is a lot of information to look through.
PSNI will consider each request individually. If you are able to understand your rights and write to us it is likely that we will deal with your request. Sometimes however we may need to seek your parent or guardians permission to do what you have asked us to do.
PSNI may monitor or record and retain telephone calls, texts, emails and other electronic communications to and from the Service in order to discourage, prevent and detect inappropriate behaviour or crime.
If you would like to exercise any of the information discussed in this document, you can do so by contacting the following department. You may wish to discuss this with your parents or guardian before you contact the PSNI.
Police Service of Northern Ireland
65 Knock Road
Telephone: 028 9070 0164
The PSNI have a designated Data Protection Officer. This person will help to ensure that the PSNI follow the law when using personal data. Anybody with concerns over the way the PSNI handles their personal data may contact our Data Protection Officer at the address above or DataProtectionOfficer@psni.pnn.police.uk.
The way PSNI use personal data is checked by an organisation called the Information Commissioner. If you remain unhappy about how the PSNI are processing your personal data you can contact them. The address is below.
Information Commissioner’s Office
14 Cromac Place
Tel: 028 90278757