DIsclosure of information regarding suspects to other parties

W Hunter (Account suspended) made this Freedom of Information request to Durham Constabulary

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Durham Constabulary should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

W Hunter (Account suspended)

Dear Durham Constabulary,

I am the victim of crime in that my vehicle was damaged whilst parked in an area covered by CCTV.

The company in charge of the CCTV has refused to provide the information to me citing DPA restrictions and have provided only a pixelated version of the footage.

Durham Constabulary have finally obtained an unredacted copy of the footage which clearly shows the suspect and the vehicle registration number but your organisation is still refusing to provide any information regarding the suspect to me as the victim of crime.

Both Tescos and Durham Constabulary have specified that they will release the details of the suspect in a vehicle collision to my insurance company whilst refusing to disclose it to me.

In respect to your organisation, please provide any information held regarding any law or statute, policy or procedure, in fact any document whatsoever which gives you the right to disclose the information to a vehicle insurer whilst withholding it from the vehicle owner.

The Insurance companies only interest in the matter is in relation to a legally binding contract between their company and the Insured, and when instructed they would be acting on behalf of the insured.

Your position appears to be that you will not release the information to the victim, who has a direct interest in the matter, whilst being fully willing to disclose the information to a third party who's only interest is in relation to a commercial contract which specifies the vehicle owner as one party to that contract.

If you are willing to disclose the information to only one party to the commercial contract please specify your lawful reason for doing so.

Yours faithfully,

W Hunter

Freedom of Information, Durham Constabulary

Your request has been received by Durham Constabulary's Information Rights
& Disclosure Unit and will be actioned accordingly. If you have any
queries please contact 0191 375 2596 Mondays to Fridays between the hours
of 7.45am and 5pm.

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Freedom of Information, Durham Constabulary

1 Attachment

Good morning,

Please find attached the response to the request. I apologise for the slight delay in sending this to you.

Yours sincerely
Freedom of Information Decision Maker.
Business Innovation & Development
Durham Constabulary

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W Hunter (Account suspended)

Dear Durham Constabulary,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Durham Constabulary's handling of my FOI request 'Disclosure of information regarding suspects to other parties' because the staff who allegedly produced the content have refused to discuss the content with me to provide any explanation.

My request was I believe quite simple in that I asked "please provide any information held regarding any law or statute, policy or procedure, in fact any document whatsoever which gives you the right to disclose the information to a vehicle insurer whilst withholding it from the vehicle owner." as the vehicle insurer only has a commercial interest in these issues by virtue of being party to a legal contract with the vehicle driver / owner, and Durham Constabulary appear to be perfectly willing to inform one party to that contract of the relevant information whilst refusing to disclose it to the other I believe more entitled party.

The first part of your response stated "Durham Constabulary, within the provisions of General Data Protection Regulations / Data Protection Act would not disclose third party personal data to another third party and / or a Solicitor outside any primary legislative requirement and /or a Court Order" which is a basic tenet of the legislation quoted and therefore meaningless in respect to my actual question.

It then goes on to state "whereby no evidence exists the third party has been involved in an incident and / or accident and / or crime. All Force disclosures are discretionary, not mandatory, unless there is applicable mandatory primary legislation and / or Court Order in the applicable subject area. " which again uses 42 words to not answer the question asked.

The next paragraph quotes Schedule 2 Part 1 Paragraph 2 of the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Article 6 (1) (d), both of which refer to not informing the suspect that their data is being processed in relation to a criminal offence, a wonderful piece of trivia to know but meaningless in response to the question I asked.

As was the statement "Common Law also allow Police Forces to investigate cases without notification, where necessary to individuals." yet another non sequitur in that Durham Constabulary seems completely opposed to recording the incident let alone actually bothering to investigate it.

The last paragraph is however filled with meaning and I'll try to identify it for you here
"Members of the public have an expectation of confidentiality that the Police will not pass on their personal data to third parties without their explicit consent." this would appear to be wrong on so many levels, not least of which is the clear reference above to the fact that the right to privacy and be informed that their data is being processed is not applicable when the processing is in relation to a crime they are being investigated / prosecuted for in the very legislation you have quoted.

In addition a vehicle registration number IS NOT PERSONAL INFORMATION, is is a vehicle identification device. the sole purpose of which is to allow the vehicle to be identified by anyone with just cause.

Under Regulation 27 of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002 the DVLA is allowed to disclose vehicle keeper details where reasonable cause is demonstrated. While reasonable cause is not defined in the law the Government’s policy is that it should relate to the vehicle or its use, following incidents where there may be liability on the part of the driver.

You further state "If persons have not exchanged personal data at the scene of a road traffic accident, then under established agreed procedures between the Police Service and the Association of British Insurers (ABI), necessary personal data is then forwarded directly insurance companies, as insurance companies act as authorised agents for drivers." which identifies a PROCEDURE between the police and insurance companies for the transfer of the what you claim is PERSONAL data to the insurer.

Despite me asking for "any information held regarding any law or statute, policy or PROCEDURE, in fact any document whatsoever which gives you the right to disclose the information to a vehicle insurer whilst withholding it from the vehicle owner" you failed to disclose this procedure, or any documentation associated with it despite confirming it's existence.

Nevertheless whilst that document exists I doubt very much that it will provide any answer to the actual question regarding why your organisation is perfectly willing to disclose the "personal" information regarding a possible criminal to the Insurance Company whilst the policy holder for the policy concerned is denied the very same knowledge despite being the legal owner / driver of the car and the employer of the insurance company.

Your response is predominantly meaningless in respect to the question asked and shows either a total failure to understand the question of a deliberate attempt to falsify and withhold information to mislead a member of the public which is a misconduct offence under sections S Other Neglect or failure in Duty and T Other irregularity in procedure as specified in the IOPC document Here https://policeconduct.gov.uk/sites/defau...

Please therefore ensure someone who actually knows what they are doing undertakes a review of this response and also that the person who actually wrote the content, I believe the head of department, has my formal complaint recorded against them for their actions in the first response.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...

Yours faithfully,

W Hunter

Request to Durham Constabulary under the Freedom of Information Act

Received on 07/10/2019 Our Ref: DC/FOI989/19

Date: 06/11/2019

Your request:

In respect to your organisation, please provide any information held regarding any law or statute, policy or procedure, in fact any document whatsoever which gives you the right to disclose the information to a vehicle insurer whilst withholding it from the vehicle owner.

I can confirm that the information that you seek is held by Durham Constabulary.

Durham Constabulary, within the provisions of General Data Protection Regulations / Data Protection Act would not disclose third party personal data to another third party and / or a Solicitor outside any primary legislative requirement and /or a Court Order, whereby no evidence exists the third party has been involved in an incident and / or accident and / or crime. All Force disclosures are discretionary, not mandatory, unless there is applicable mandatory primary legislation and / or Court Order in the applicable subject area.

Where Police enquiries which are concerned with the prevention or detection of crime and/or the prosecution or apprehension of offenders and/or the protecting the vital interests of a person, then under Schedule 2 Part 1 Paragraph 2 of the Data Protection Act 2018 and/or General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Article 6 (1) (d), a data subject connected to the case can legitimately not be notified, if prejudice to the case progress may or would be caused from the contact.

Common Law also allow Police Forces to investigate cases without notification, where necessary to individuals.

Members of the public have an expectation of confidentiality that the Police will not pass on their personal data to third parties without their explicit consent. If persons have not exchanged personal data at the scene of a road traffic accident, then under established agreed procedures between the Police Service and the Association of British Insurers (ABI), necessary personal data is then forwarded directly insurance companies, as insurance companies act as authorised agents for drivers.

Information on the Rights of Access under the Data Protection Act legislation can be found on the Durham Constabulary website on the link below:

https://www.durham.police.uk/About-Us/Fr...

Durham Constabulary Privacy Notice can be found on the Force website on the link below:

https://www.durham.police.uk/About-Us/Fr...

Please note that Durham Constabulary’s response to your request is unique and should not be used as a comparison with any other Force response you receive.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Your attention is drawn to the below link to our website, which details your right to complain:

https://www.durham.police.uk/About-Us/Fr...

If you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please write or contact me on the above telephone number.

I hope this is of assistance to you.

Yours sincerely
Freedom of Information Decision Maker
Information Rights and Disclosure Unit

Freedom of Information, Durham Constabulary

Good Morning

I acknowledge receipt of your internal review as below. This has been passed to our Internal Reviewer who will reply in due course.

Yours Sincerley

Freedom of Information Decision Maker
Business Innovation and Development
Durham Constabulary

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Freedom of Information, Durham Constabulary

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Hunter

 

 

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE: 989/19 Internal Review

 

I write in connection with your request for information dated 07/10/2019
to which a reply was sent on 06/11/2019. I note you seek access to the
following information:

 

I am the victim of crime in that my vehicle was damaged whilst parked in
an area covered by CCTV.

 

The company in charge of the CCTV has refused to provide the information
to me citing DPA restrictions and have provided only a pixelated version
of the footage.

 

Durham Constabulary have finally obtained an unredacted copy of the
footage which clearly shows the suspect and the vehicle registration
number but your organisation is still refusing to provide any information
regarding the suspect to me as the victim of crime.

 

Both Tescos and Durham Constabulary have specified that they will release
the details of the suspect in a vehicle collision to my insurance company
whilst refusing to disclose it to me.

 

In respect to your organisation, please provide any information held
regarding any law or statute, policy or procedure, in fact any document
whatsoever which gives you the right to disclose the information to a
vehicle insurer whilst withholding it from the vehicle owner.

 

The Insurance companies only interest in the matter is in relation to a
legally binding contract between their company and the Insured, and when
instructed they would be acting on behalf of the insured.

 

Your position appears to be that you will not release the information to
the victim, who has a direct interest in the matter, whilst being fully
willing to disclose the information to a third party who's only interest
is in relation to a commercial contract which specifies the vehicle owner
as one party to that contract.

 

If you are willing to disclose the information to only one party to the
commercial contract please specify your lawful reason for doing so.

 

You have now requested a review of the original response and in accordance
with Force procedure, this was forwarded to me to carry out a review.

 

The purpose of writing to you today is to information you of the outcome
of my independent review of the original decision in relation to your
request and to explain my decision. I can confirm that Durham
Constabulary’s internal review process provides the mechanism for a
decision(s) to be considered afresh by someone independent of the original
decision making process.  For the avoidance of doubt, I can confirm I as
the reviewer in this request had no involvement in the original
request/decision.

 

I am grateful for your patience whilst the issues raised in your internal
review were fully considered.

 

INTERNAL REVIEW DECISION

 

Your request for an internal review has now been considered and after
carefully weighing up both sides of the argument, the conclusion I have
arrived at, following a thorough review process was that the decision
taken was partially incorrect. I am therefore overturning the original
decision in part in this case.

 

I can confirm that Durham Constabulary do not have a local policy
pertaining to the matter in question. That is, there is no formal policy
to not disclose information to individuals. Therefore I can confirm that
the data you requested is not held.

 

REASONS FOR DECISION

 

The previous decision maker responded by confirming the policies we have
for sharing information, and interpreted the request for Disclosure in law
– and therefore correctly cited the General Data Protection
Regulation/Data Protection Act 2018. As previously advised, Police forces
share information with Insurance Companies via the Memorandum of
Understanding from 2014.

 

Additionally, and specifically pertaining to individuals, Section 170 of
the Road Traffic Act allows the exchange of details between parties of a
road traffic collision. Third party details provided by the Constabulary
to individuals follow this premise within the appropriate criteria.

The link is: [1]http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988...

 

I note that your request specifically relates to what you perceive to be
withholding information. To clarify, as stated above there is no specific
policy to “withhold” information.

 

As previously advised, all disclosure outside of a Court Order is
discretionary, and each is considered on a case by case basis. Necessary
information can be shared with individuals but this is not mandatory.

 

Third party data disclosure would only ever be considered for disclosure
by Durham Constabulary, if there was a proven i.e. evidential link to
another connected third party. This is because, via numerous case law
judgments, it is established that police forces owe a duty of care and
confidentiality to all third party members of the public. Also, it is
established that third parties have an expectation of confidentiality, in
relation to any personal data held about them by the Police Service. The
duty and expectation of confidentiality can therefore only be overridden
by a court order, in the absence of any applicable enabling statutory
disclosure gateway i.e. legislation.

 

To be clear, in circumstances where an alleged vehicle incident cannot be
confirmed or established from the investigative enquiries made and/or the
information or evidence held, no details will be released, outside the
remit of a Court Order. Where there is evidence of an incident and
disclosure is deemed proportionate and necessary, then discretionary
disclosure may be provided to an individual under the Act stated above.

 

In response to your view that a vehicle registration number is not
personal information, and therefore does not constitute personal data,
there have been numerous decisions by the Information Commissioner’s
Office (ICO) and for assistance I reference below the following links to
the ICO findings which determined that vehicle registration numbers were
considered to be personal information.

 

[2]https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...

 

[3]https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...

 

Should you be dissatisfied with my review decision in this case, you have
the right to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner, at the
details shown below:

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

 

Telephone Number: 01625 545700

 

Website: [4]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

 

 

Finally, I would confirm that any correspondence to Durham Constabulary
regarding this matter must be made in writing and would advise that
telephone conversations will not be engaged with.

 

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Freedom of Information Internal Reviewer

 

Information Rights and Disclosure

 

 

 

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DURHAM CONSTABULARY, Protecting Neighbourhoods, Tackling Criminals,
Solving Problems…Around the Clock

NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICING: Use your postcode to get access to local news and
events from your Neighbourhood Policing Team, at
https://www.durham.police.uk

This email carries a disclaimer, a copy of which may be read at
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References

Visible links
1. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988...
2. https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...
3. https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...
4. http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/