Medical records illegally accessed by:- Police, Council, NHS Staff?

W. Williams made this Freedom of Information request to Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Metropolitan Police Service

I am making a request for all the information to which I am entitled to under the Freedom of Information Act, concerning:-

1. How many incidents have been recorded by the Metropolitan Police Service, when:-

a) Police Officers / Staff illegally accessed personal / medical records of a member of the public, which are held by the NHS / local health boards?

b) Local Authority / Council Staff / Officers illegally accessed personal / medical records of a member of the public, which are held by the NHS / local health boards?

c) NHS Staff illegally accessed personal / medical records of a member of the public that are held by the NHS / local health boards?

2. How many incidents have been investigated by the Metropolitan Police Service, when:-

a) Police Officers / Staff illegally accessed personal / medical records of a member of the public, which are held by the NHS / local health boards?

b) Local Authority / Council Staff / Officers illegally accessed personal / medical records of a member of the public, which are held by the NHS / local health boards?

c) NHS Staff illegally accessed personal / medical records of a member of the public, which are held by the NHS / local health boards?

3. If investigations took place (relating to question 2.) of the illegal accessing of personal / medical records of a member of the public, which are held by the NHS / local health boards. Which department(s) within the MPS investigated, relating to:-

a) Police Officers / Staff?

b) Local Authority / Council Staff / Officers?

c) NHS Staff?

I understand that under the FOI Act, I should be entitled to a response within 20 working days. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Please note that your full reply to the above questions should sent by e-mail to the return address shown in the heading to this message. This is because both the request and its response are published for public scrutiny on the web site through which this request has been made.

Yours faithfully,

W. Williams (Miss)

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear  Ms Williams

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2014100002722

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 30/10/2014.  I note you seek
access to the following information:

* .        How many incidents have been recorded by the Metropolitan
Police Service,

* 1;  when:-
* a)        Police Officers / Staff illegally accessed personal /
medical records of a member of the public, which are held by the NHS /
local health boards?                
* b)        Local Authority / Council Staff / Officers illegally
accessed personal / medical records of a member of the public, which
are held by the NHS / local health boards?        
* c)        NHS Staff illegally accessed personal / medical records of a
member of the public that are held by the NHS / local health boards?

* 2.        How many incidents have been investigated by the
Metropolitan Police Service, when:-        
*         a)        Police Officers / Staff illegally accessed personal
/ medical records of a member of the public, which are held by the NHS
/ local health boards?                
* b)        Local Authority / Council Staff / Officers illegally
accessed personal / medical records of a member of the public, which
are held by the NHS / local health boards?                            
           
* c)        NHS Staff illegally accessed personal / medical records of a
member of the public, which are held by the NHS / local health boards?

* 3.        If investigations took place (relating to question 2.) of
the illegal accessing of personal / medical records of a member of the
public, which are held by the NHS / local health boards. Which
department(s) within the MPS investigated, relating to:-
* a)        Police Officers / Staff?        
* b)        Local Authority / Council Staff / Officers?
* c)        NHS Staff?

Your request will now be allocated to the relevant unit within the MPS and
will be processed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(the Act).  

You will receive your response directly from the relevant unit within the
statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Act.  

In some circumstances the MPS may be unable to achieve this deadline.  If
this is likely you will be informed and given a revised time-scale at the
earliest opportunity.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet, which details your right of
complaint.

If you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please contact
us at [email address] or on the phone at 0207 161 3500, quoting the
reference number above.  Should your enquiry relate to the logging or
allocations process we will be able to assist you directly and where your
enquiry relates to other matters (such as the status of the request) we
will be able to pass on a message and/or advise you of the relevant
contact details.

Yours sincerely

Peter Deja
Support Officer - Freedom of Information Triage Team

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome to discuss the
response with the case officer who dealt with your request.  

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.

The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your
communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless
absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in
this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

 

Find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/metpoliceuk
Twitter: @metpoliceuk

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Ms Williams

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2014100002722

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 30/10/2014. I note you seek
access to the following information:

"1. How many incidents have been recorded by the Metropolitan Police
Service, when:-
a) Police Officers / Staff illegally accessed personal / medical records
of a member of the public, which are held by the NHS / local health
boards?                
b) Local Authority / Council Staff / Officers illegally accessed personal
/ medical records of a member of the public, which are held by the NHS /
local health boards?        
c) NHS Staff illegally accessed personal / medical records of a member of
the public that are held by the NHS / local health boards?

2. How many incidents have been investigated by the Metropolitan Police
Service, when:-                
a) Police Officers / Staff illegally accessed personal / medical records
of a member of the public, which are held by the NHS / local health
boards?                
b) Local Authority / Council Staff / Officers illegally accessed personal
/ medical records of a member of the public, which are held by the NHS /
local health boards?                                        
c) NHS Staff illegally accessed personal / medical records of a member of
the public, which are held by the NHS / local health boards?

3. If investigations took place (relating to question 2.) of the illegal
accessing of personal / medical records of a member of the public, which
are held by the NHS / local health boards. Which department(s) within the
MPS investigated, relating to:-
a) Police Officers / Staff?        
b) Local Authority / Council Staff / Officers?
c) NHS Staff? "

DECISION  

This letter is to inform you that it will not be possible to respond to
your request within the cost threshold by virtue of section 12 of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). In accordance with section 17(5)
FOIA, this letter acts as a Refusal Notice. Please see the legal annex for
the sections of the Act that are referred to in this letter.

Costs Estimation - Questions 1 and 2 part a)

I note that you have not provided the number of recording years that you
would like the response to cover; in lieu of this I had envisaged a
maximum of 5 from November 2014. However as can be seen below it is not
possible to provide this.

The MPS records crime using the Home Office offence codes. There are a
number on the system specific to offences that can be committed under the
NHS Act of 2006 in relation to Sections 204 (1, 2, 3, 4, and 6), 205, 259
(S21) and 260 (S22) and illegal access to computer records could also be
recorded under the Home Office codes for the Computer Misuse Act, being,
unauthorised act to impair the operation, Computer Misuse Act 1990 S1 and
unauthorised access. In respect of the above NHS Act offences, for the 10
years from 2004 to 2014 I found one record in 2012, this did not relate to
illegal access but to concerns raised over care issue by a social worker.
In respect of the Computer Misuse Act from 01/01/2014 to 26/11/2014 a
search of CRIS using standard search techniques produced zero reports, for
01/01/2013 to 31/12/2013 47 reports, none of which, on reading the free
text, were related to any of the persons in your questions. Analysis of
the year 01/01/2012 to 31/12/2012 produced 344 reports. Unfortunately it
takes 5 minutes per report to read and determine whether the report would
relate to a Police officer or Police Staff. The FOIA allows for the MPS to
spend 18 hours of an officer's time to read and extract the relevant data.
18 hours at 5 minutes per report is the equivalent of 216 reports. This is
not for each question or part of a question but for the whole request. 344
reports for 2012 alone take the request above cost, however the time
already spent on reading the 47 reports in 2013 would have to be deducted.
This means that before the request is cost refused we would only have been
able to review another 169 reports. Given the inability to extract the
data for parts b) and c) of Questions 1 and 2 (please see below) to cost
refuse this request on that basis would have been disingenuous.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter acts
as a Refusal Notice.

Section 12 -  Where cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit

The ICO advises on using the Fees regulations 'Section 12 makes it clear
that a public authority does not have to make a precise calculation of the
costs of complying with a request. Only an estimate is required ... what
amounts to a reasonable estimate can only be considered on a case by case
basis.' The ICO further advises 'where a reasonable estimate has been made
that the appropriate limit would be exceeded, there is no requirement for
a public authority to undertake work up to the limit.'  

We estimate that the cost of complying with this request would exceed the
appropriate limit. The appropriate limit has been specified in regulations
and for agencies outside central Government; this is set at £450.00. This
represents the estimated cost of one person spending 18 hours (at a rate
of £25 per hour) in determining whether the MPS holds the information, and
locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

Section 16 - Advice and Assistance

Section 16 of the Act places a duty upon a public authority to provide
advice and assistance in connection with your request, so that it falls
within the cost limit.

Questions 1 and 2 parts b) and c)

It is not possible for the MPS to answer your request in relation to
Questions 1 and 2, parts b) and c). The job title for suspects on the
Crime Recording and Information System (CRIS) uses pre-determined
categories and the obvious selection here would be 'Local Authority
Employee' for Local Authority, Council Staff, Officers. For NHS Staff, it
would relate to their role for example Nurse or Doctor. However there are
other options available for individuals to select, for example 'accounts
clerk' or 'administrative assistant', consultant (which could be medical
or across a multitude of other occupations, care assistant, cleaner. There
are a huge number of roles within any government funded organisation that
are covered by the over-arching title of Staff, or Officers. As such Local
Authority or NHS employees may not declare themselves as such. The
definition of the persons you have provided will therefore not provide
accurate figures in a CRIS search. Please advise how you would wish to
proceed, it may be advantageous to limit the number of occupations and/or
offence.

This data may be accessed more easily by making a request to the NHS under
the Freedom of Information Act. They would be more likely to hold records
of unauthorised access to NHS records and those of the health boards
within London. This would include those that have been dealt with
internally and not referred to the police. You may therefore wish to use
the following link: http://www.england.nhs.uk/contact-us/foi/

Question 3

As explained above we cannot answer this question as we have no data for
investigations taking place. However, I can provide an answer that would
satisfy this question and its subsections.

As a general rule the location of the offence not the addresses of any of
the affected parties, victim, informant, witness or suspect is what is
important. Therefore each borough's offences (unless the offence has to be
transferred to a specialist unit) are investigated by that boroughs
officers.

Question 3a)

Whenever the MPS records an allegation of a criminal offence by a Police
Officer, the incident is investigated initially by the borough on which
the crime was committed and referred to the Directorate of Professional
Standards (DPS) for further investigation, and depending on the offence
this investigation may also be referred to the IPCC for an oversight.

Whenever the MPS records an allegation of a criminal offence by a Staff
member, the incident is investigated initially by the borough on which the
crime was committed and referred to Human Resources (HR4) for further
investigation. This is the Police staff equivalent of the DPS.

There are two different systems in place, because Police Officers are
servants of the Crown and not employees and not all standard employment
law applies to them. There are also a number of Regulations enshrined in
law that govern their conditions of service.

Question 3b) and c)

Unless we have a particular specialist investigation unit for the
particular offence, offences alleged against these individuals are
investigated by the officers attached to the borough in which the offence
occurred.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet which details your right of
complaint.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please write
or contact Deborah Solomon on telephone number 0207 161 4291 quoting the
reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Detective Inspector Raphael
Capability and Support
Territorial Policing Command

LEGAL ANNEX

Section 17(5) of the Act provides:

(5) A public authority which, in relation to any request for information,
is relying on a claim that section 12 or 14 applies must, within the time
for complying with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice stating that
fact.

Section 12(1) of the Act provides:

(1) Section 1 does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request
for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with
the request would exceed the appropriate limit.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome to discuss the
response with the case officer who dealt with your request.  

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at www.ico.org.uk.  Alternatively, phone or
write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 745

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your
communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless
absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in
this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

 

Find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/metpoliceuk
Twitter: @metpoliceuk