Historical Incident Retention Times

Clark Dalziel made this Freedom of Information request to Police Scotland

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The request was successful.

Dear Police Scotland,

In the Police Scotland recruitment website it refers to "all historical incident" when vetting a person who applies for a police officers position.

For example , If a person was arrested or was part of a Police investigation for a minor offence over 10 years ago and never convicted then according to the Police Scotland recruitment website this incident would be revealed

I wish to know the following,

Q1: How long does Police Scotland retain "all historical incidents" which they refer to in their recruitment process

Q2: Can Police Scotland provide a copy of their retention policy and guidelines with regards to "all historical incidents" which they refer to in their recruitment process

Q3: Does Police Scotland operate a blanket retention policy with regards to all historical incidents which they refer to in their recruitment process

Yours faithfully,

Clark Dalziel


Good morning

Police Service of Scotland received your request for information on 15
August 2013. Please quote Ref No IM-FOI-2013-0905 in any further

Your request will now be considered under the Freedom of Information
(Scotland) Act 2002 and you will receive a response from us within 20
working days unless otherwise notified.

Thank you

Kind Regards, Nicola

Nicola Sloan
Analyst Researcher
Police Scotland
FOI Central Processing Unit
Telephone: 0141 435 1276 (704 1276)

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FOI, Police Scotland

2 Attachments


Mr Dalziel,

Please find attached the force response to your request for information.

Kind Regards


Inspector Graeme Cuthbertson

Police Service of Scotland
Freedom of Information Central Processing Unit

Tel: 0141 435 (704)1205


<<Response.pdf>> <<Record Retention SOP.pdf>>

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Dear Police Scotland

I would like to clarify the meaning of the current year +6 year rule so I have a full understanding if I may.

For example: If a person was arrested and charged with a standard offence in March 2006 and was never convicted in court that same year, would that mean that there would be no historical record of that persons arrest kept after the 1st of January 2012 that could be disclosed if the person where to apply for the position of Police Constable within the Scottish Police force?

Yours sincerely,

Clark Dalziel

FOI Dumfries,

Dear Mr Dalziel

For clarity in relation to the example provided; if a person was charged with an offence but not convicted - the charge would remain present on the Criminal History System as a "Temporary Retention" for a period of 6 months. Incident records in relation to standard crime are retained for current year +6 which means that details would be retained for 2013 (current year) plus the preceding 6 years which would include 2007.

To provide further context, the vetting process for police officers is stringent and includes the checking of various systems including the Scottish Courts database which covers offences reported by other agencies, for example; Trading Standards or Benefit Fraud Teams.

It is therefore a standard request that all applicants to the Police Service are asked to declare any adverse dealings with the police or any other prosecuting authority no matter how historical to prove they are not attempting to hide anything or mislead in any way. Open source research is also carried out which may reveal a historical newspaper report about a court case which might have resulted in a 'not guilty' verdict and therefore was weeded from force systems.

I trust that this provides sufficient clarification and please contact me if you require anything further.


Steven Irving
Freedom of Information Officer
Information Management

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Steven Andrews left an annotation ()

What is the format of the "incident records" are they paper records or an electronic system?