Our previous posting on the ACPO Step Down Model for the retention of data on the Police National Computer
ACPO "Retention Guidelines for Nominal Records on the Police National Computer, incorporating the Step Down Model" - no data deletion until you are 100 years old ! About 6000 different criminal offences.
has generated a few comments recently, in relation to Criminal Records Bureau Enhanced Disclosures, which incorporate "relevant intelligence" as well actual convictions.
We emailed the Data Protection people at the Criminal Records Bureau, and got a prompt reply:
Thank you for your e-mail regarding the step down model for PNC information
The CRB does not hold a copy of the Police National Computer (PNC) record of convictions. The system held by the CRB is known as a PNC Extract. The extract contains basic identifying details such as name and date of birth of persons included on the PNC. The extract does not contain any conviction information. Therefore CRB have no access to amend or update PNC information including 'aged' information.
A relevance test is conducted by each Chief Officer as part of an Enhanced Disclosure, the decision to provide any further information is made by the Chief Officer. Each application is consider based on the information available, this could include non conviction information if deemed relevant.
The CRB are currently considering the implementation of the stepped down model within the Disclosure service and are consulting with the relevant bodies to consider how stepped down information will be accessed by CRB for the purposes of a CRB Disclosure. Policies and procedures will be implemented following these discussions.
Further information on the model can be found at www.acpo.police.uk
If the "step down model" is still being consulted on by the CRB, presumably the old system still applies at present.
It may well be worth writing to the Criminal Records Bureau with your concerns, after all, the general public should be counted as "stakeholders" in any such consultations as well:
CRB Code of Practice & Data Protection Officer PO Box 165 Liverpool L69 3JD Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are particularly concerned with non-conviction data i.e. "Criminal Justice Arresstee" information, e.g. arrests or cautions where the charges have been dropped, or even where people have been charged but found not guilty by a court, something which goes to the heart of the Bichard Inquiry Report reforms of Police and CRB data systems.
We are also worried about non-criminal records e.g. Anti-Social Behavior Orders, Parenting Orders, Dispersal Orders etc. for which there must be some sort of record in the system, but which are intially enforced under civil not criminal law, so they obviously do not appear on standard CRB Disclosures.
What are the rules, if any, for their appearance or non-appearance, or "aging" under the "step down model" as "relevant intelligence" in an Enhanced Disclosure ?
On 18th July 2008, the Information Tribunal made an important ruling regarding old (25 year or longer) criminal records and the Police National Computer.
In three cases, they have decided that although the data is not to be deleted, it will not be allowed to be used for non-Police operational purposes e.g. employment vetting checks via the Criminal Records Bureau.
The current Weeding Rules are judged to be in, effect, inflexible and without any discretion in practice.
See the Information Tribunal ruling in the case of
This ruling supports the idea of a Step Down Model, but illustrates just how unlikely it is to be carried out fairly and consistently in practice, given the vast bureaucracy involved.