If you wish to make a request for 'your personal data' under data protection legislation, PSNI would request you do so in writing, preferably by completing the PSNI subject access form (DAT1). This form allows PSNI to best ascertain your identity and your requirements. There is no charge for this service; however, PSNI also ask you to provide documentation to confirm who you are. Your application must be accompanied by at least two forms of identification. Between them, they should bear a combination of your name, address, and date of birth (e.g. Driving Licence, Passport, Medical Card, Birth/Adoption Certificate, Bank Statement, or Utility Bill). It is advised that, if you are posting your request to us, you send photocopies of original documents - PSNI cannot be held accountable for original documents lost in the post.
Under data protection legislation, you have the right to obtain from the PSNI, unless an exemption applies (see below), confirmation as to whether or not personal data concerning you is being processed, and, where that is the case, access to the personal data and the following information within one calendar month (this can be extended by a further two months in certain circumstances):
- The purposes of the processing and if processed for law enforcement purposes the legal basis for the processing;
- The categories of personal data concerned;
- The recipients or categories of recipient to whom the personal data have been or will be disclosed. Where personal data are transferred to a third country or to an international organisation, the data subject shall have the right to be informed of the appropriate safeguards, relating to the transfer;
- Where possible, the envisaged period for which the personal data will be stored, or, if not possible, the criteria used to determine that period;
- The existence of the rights which individuals have with regards to how their data is processed;
- The right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissoner’s Office (ICO);
- Where the personal data was not collected from yourself, any available information as to their source;
- The existence of automated decision-making, including profiling if processed for non-law enforcement purposes
It is important to remember that not all personal information is covered and there are ‘exemptions’ within the data protection legislation which may allow the PSNI to refuse to comply with your subject access request in certain circumstances. We will not provide personal data if we feel releasing it to you would be likely to prejudice policing purposes, some of these reasons could include, for example:
- The prevention and detection of crime;
- The apprehension and prosecution of offenders;
- The interests of national security.
The PSNI is also not likely to provide you with information that identifies other individuals.
Information about children may be released to a person with parental responsibility. However, the best interests of the child will always be considered.
Even if a child is very young, data about them is still their personal data and does not belong to anyone else. It is the child who has a right of access to the information held about them.
Before responding to a request for information held about a child, the PSNI will consider whether the child is mature enough to understand their rights. If the PSNI is confident that the child can understand their rights, then we will respond to the child rather than the parent. What matters is that the child is able to understand (in broad terms) what it means to make a subject access request and how to interpret the information they receive as a result of doing so.
PSNI can only supply your personal data to yourself. Should you be making an application on behalf of any other person (third party), please ensure you enclose an original letter of authorisation from that individual. Please also ensure that this individual has signed the DAT1 form (if submitted) and provided their identification documents.
Any queries in relation to subject access should be referred to:
Police Service of Northern Ireland
65 Knock Road
Where can I get a form for access to information, which may be held about me on other PSNI Systems?
The DAT1: Application for Access to your Personal Data Held on the Police Service for Northern Ireland Information Systems.
Can I use subject access to get hold of someone else's records?
No. The subject access process is confidential between the individual and the police. We cannot provide you with the details of another person.
Is it possible to speed up subject access applications?
Under current data protection legislation, PSNI has one calendar month to respond to your subject access request, this can be extended by a further two months in certain circumstances. Requests submitted to the Corporate Information Unit will be assigned to staff for progression in the order in which they are submitted to the Organisation. In the case of information held about you on the Police National Computer (PNC), your application will be passed to ACPO Criminal Records Office (ACRO), who will access the PNC and post the reply to you.
Is subject access the same as vetting?
No. Subject access, which is a right to request access to information held about you by an organisation, may only provide a copy of some of the information about you held by the police. We may possess other information that is not available under the subject access provisions of the data protection legislation. Vetting will normally access all information held by the police on an individual.
How can I prove my identity?
To help establish your identity your application must be accompanied by copies of two different official documents which between them provide sufficient information to prove your name, date of birth, current address and signature. For example, a combination of driving license, medical card, birth/adoption certificate, passport, utility bill or bank statement.
Can I send you photocopies of my identity documents?
Yes, but we reserve the right to request original documentation in some cases. All original documents will be returned by post.
How do I get my reply sent to an address, which is different to my ‘Home Address’ on the application form?
This can be arranged, providing you enclose a letter of authority signed by yourself, detailing where you want the reply sent and including relevant dates, if appropriate.
How is my application processed?
Once application has been received it will be checked. If you have submitted original identification documents, these will be returned to you. Photocopies of identification documents will not be returned.
If your request is for a Police National Computer Check, the application will then be passed to the ACPO Criminal Records Office, who will respond to you.
If your request is for information that may be held about you on other PSNI Systems the PSNI Corporate Information Unit will then process your application - carrying out the appropriate checks and will post or email the response to you.