Emergency and Police Requests for Personal Data

The University position is that staff should not confirm or deny student status if requested by a third party, but there are some exceptions as outlined below.

Emergency Requests (Vital Interests)

In the event of an emergency, data protection legislation allows the release of personal data about an individual (e.g. for medical emergencies, accidents, next-of-kin requirements) to protect the vital interests of that individual or others.

The third party with appropriate authority requesting the information (e.g. Police, doctor, hospital or emergency services) 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.

This condition is limited in scope, and generally only applies to matters of life and death, and where the individual is physically or legally incapable of giving consent.

The University must ensure that:

(a) the release is necessary;

(b) it is not possible or practical in the circumstances to seek the necessary consent(s) and;

(c) it is acting in good faith.

If such a request is received via phone then it should not be assumed that the identity claimed by the requester on the line is genuine.  To confirm the identity of a caller in an emergency situation, request some corroborating details that can be verified.

For general advice and assistance relating to student wellbeing, please contact the UoG Safeguarding Team.

Police Requests

Schedule 2, part 1(2) of the Data Protection Act 2018 allows the University to disclose personal data on specific individual(s) to the Police, or other authorised agencies, for the purposes of the prevention or detection of crime, the apprehension or prosecution of offenders, or the collection of tax or duty.

This data can be requested and released without the explicit consent of the individual(s). The University has the authority to either release or decline to release the requested information based on the impact of disclosure on the authorised agencie's investigations.

A standard disclosure form should be completed by the authorised agency (e.g. Police, Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS), Home Office, HM Revenue & Customs) and sent via email to The Data Protection Office.  The completed form must outline:

  • the nature of the investigation and the reason that information is required;  
  • the individual(s) about whom the agency require data;
  • the individual(s) role in that investigation;
  • the information required about the individual(s); and
  • the name and signature of both the requesting and authorising agency officers.

Please note that if the Police or an authorised authority approach you directly with a request for personal data, you are not required to make disclosure decisions on your own. Get in touch with the DP&FOI Office or the Gatehouse for assistance and guidance.

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

Outwith office hours, please refer to the Gatehouse.