Chief Constable of Humberside Police and Others v The Information Commissioner and Another: CA 19 Oct 2009

Complaints had been made that the police were not deleting from their criminal records very old records of minor convictions. The police appealed against a finding that they should do so under Data Protection Principles. The Police had used a policy agreed with the Respondent, but had withdrawn it following the Bichard inquiry, and replaced it with a policy restricting what would be discarded. The new policy was not agreed.
Held: The 1998 Act does not restrict what data can be held, but requires instead indentification of what is held and its purpose. The Commissioner’s reliance on the concept of ‘core purposes’ was misconceived and led to the tribunal ‘getting off on the wrong foot’. The Tribunal had erred. What the police required for their purposes was a matter for them: ‘If the police say rationally and reasonably that convictions, however old or minor, have a value in the work they do that should, in effect, be the end of the matter.’ The case related to issues of data retention, and the issues of disclosure were not argued. A policy of ‘stepping down’ records of less serious offences could not be accommodated within the terms of the 1997 Act.

Waller LJ, Carnwath LJ, Hughes LJ
[2009] EWCA Civ 1079, Times 22-Oct-2009, [2010] 1 WLR 1136
Data Protection Act 1998, Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 27(4), Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975, Police Act 1997
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedT, Regina (on The Application of) v Greater Manchester Police and Another Admn 9-Feb-2012
The claimant challenged the terms of an enhanced Criminal Records Certificate issued by the defendant. He had been warned in 2002 for suspicion of theft of two cycles. The record had been stepped down in 2009, but then re-instated. He wished to . .
CitedT, Regina (on The Application of) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester and Others CA 29-Jan-2013
Three claimants appealed against refusal of declarations that the response of the police to requests for Criminal Records Bureau enhanced checks, were a disproportionate interference in their right to private and family life, and in particular that . .
CitedCatt and T, Regina (on The Applications of) v Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis SC 4-Mar-2015
Police Data Retention Justifiable
The appellants challenged the collection of data by the police, alleging that its retention interfered with their Article 8 rights. C complained of the retention of records of his lawful activities attending political demonstrations, and T . .
CitedGallagher for Judicial Review (NI) SC 30-Jan-2019
Each appellant complained of the disclosure by the respondent of very old and minor offences to potential employers, destroying prospects of finding work. Two statutory schemes were challenged, raising two separate questions, namely whether any . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Information, Police

Updated: 09 January 2022; Ref: scu.376166