Police Requests for Personal Data

Police Requests for Personal Data

The Police, and other authorised agencies, may request personal data about specific individual(s) from the University in emergency situations and for the purposes of the prevention or detection of crime or the apprehension or prosecution of offenders.

During office hours, please refer all requests for information from the Police, or other authorised agencies to the DP Office.

Outwith office hours, please refer all requests for information from the Police, or other authorised agencies to the Gatehouse.

Section 29(3) and Schedule III(3) of the DPA allow authorised agencies to request personal data from the University without the explicit consent of the individual(s). The University has the authority to either release or decline to release the requested information.

Disclosure requirements

Please note that if the Police, or an authorised authority, approach you with a request for personal data, you are not required to make disclosure decisions on your own. As described above, get in touch with either the Data Protection & FOI Office or the Gatehouse for assistance and guidance.

In the event of an emergency, Schedule III(3) of the DPA allows the release of personal data about an individual (e.g. for medical, accident, next-of-kin, situations, etc.) in order to protect the vital interests of that individual or another individual. The authority requesting the information does not have to provide formal documentation in support of their request. It is at the University's discretion as to whether any personal data is released.

Section 29(3) of the DPA allows the University to disclose personal data on specific individual(s) to the Police or other authorised agencies if it will assist in the prevention or detection of crime, the apprehension or prosecution of offenders, or the collection of tax or duty. Disclosure of the requested information is at the University's discretion, based on the impact of disclosure on the investigation.

A standard form is required for making requests under Section 29(3) of the DPA. The form is referred to as the "Section 29 form", and is held by the Police. The completed form must briefly outline:

  • the nature of the investigation and the reason that information is required,  
  • the individual(s) about whom the Police require data,
  • the individual(s) role in that investigation, 
  • the information required about the individual(s),
  • the name and number of both the requesting and authorising Police Officers.

The completed form must be signed by both the requesting officer and the authorising officer. The authorising officer must be senior to the requesting officer and of a rank no lower than Inspector. There may be rare cases where the nature of the investigation may not be specified on the form as it would itself prejudice an investigation - in such cases the authorising officer must be of the rank of Superintendent or above.