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Frequently asked questions

Listed below are some of the most frequently asked questions which may assist you.

  • Q:

    What is personal information/data?

    A:

    Personal information or data is information about yourself only.

  • Q:

    What is "subject access"?

    A:

    The Data Protection Act 1998 gives you the right to ask in writing whether there is any personal data that the West Mercia Police holds or has processed about you. This is the right of Subject Access.

  • Q:

    Can I use subject access to get hold of someone else's records?

    A:

    No. The subject access process is confidential between the individual and the police. We cannot provide you with the details of another person.

  • Q:

    How much does a Data Protection/Subject Access Request Cost?

    A:

    Each subject access application request costs £10.00 Sterling.

  • Q:

    How can I get a "Police clearance certificate" / "Certificate of good conduct" for visa or emigration?

    A:

    The UK police do not issue "certificates of good conduct" or "police clearance certificates", however in our experience foreign embassies will generally accept a police reply under the subject access provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 as a suitable equivalent.

  • Q:

    Where can I get a form for access to information, which may be held about me on other West Mercia Police Systems?

    A:

    Use the local Subject Access Request Form. If you do not live or have never lived in the West Mercia area, please apply to the Police Service that covers the relevant region or area.

  • Q:

    Where do I send my completed form?

    A:

    Completed application forms can only be returned by post, the address is on the form. Please note your form will not be accepted at your local police station

  • Q:

    How long will my subject access application take to process?

    A:

    By law your subject access application must be processed and posted to you within a maximum of 40 days.

  • Q:

    Is it possible to speed up applications?

    A:

    Under the Data Protection Act 1998 your application will take up to 40 days to process from the date recorded on your receipt. In the case of information held about you on the Police National Computer (PNC), your application will be passed to ACPO Criminal Records Office (ACRO), who will access the PNC and post the reply to you. Due to the volume of applications that they receive, the ACPO Criminal Records Office cannot expedite or prioritise any applications.

  • Q:

    How do I get a Disclosure and Barring Service Check?

    A:

    The current legislation does not allow the self-employed or individuals to apply for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on themselves. In addition, parents who employ a nanny / au pair / baby sitter directly cannot apply for a DBS check; however, if an agency supplies the nanny / au pair / baby sitter, the agency is entitled to carry out a DBS check.

  • Q:

    Is subject access the same as vetting?

    A:

    No. Subject access, which is a right to request access to information held about you by organisations, may only provide a copy of some of the information about you held by the police. We may possess other information that is not available under the Subject Access provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998. Vetting will normally access all information held by the police on an individual.

  • Q:

    How can I prove my identity?

    A:

    To help establish your identity your application must be accompanied by copies of two different official documents which between them provide sufficient information to prove your name, date of birth, current address and signature.

  • Q:

    Can I send you photocopies of my identity documents?

    A:

    Yes, but we reserve the right to request original documentation in some cases. All original documents will be returned by post.

  • Q:

    How do I get my reply sent to an address, which is different to my 'Home Address' on the application form?

    A:

    This can be arranged, providing you enclose a letter of authority signed by yourself, detailing where you want the reply sent and including relevant dates, if appropriate.

  • Q:

    How is my form processed?

    A:

    Once a completed subject access form has been received it will be checked. If you have submitted original identification documents, these will be returned to you by ordinary post only. Photocopies of identification documents will not be returned. You will also receive a receipt for the fee paid.

  • Q:

    Who can I contact for further information

    A:

    If you have any further queries about your application please contact the Information Compliance Unit at West Mercia Police on 01905 331545 / 331565 or alternatively email: information@westmercia.pnn.police.uk

  • Q:

    How do I request information for the support of a civil proceeding?

    A:

    It is unlikely Subject Access will be an appropriate way to obtain information for individuals considering, or taking, legal action against an individual or organisation. The subject access provisions will provide information that will be redacted to ensure no third party information, or information not deemed to be that of the applicant remains, it may also see information refused via the exemptions in the Act. In such circumstances the normal legal channels of discovery are generally more appropriate, i.e. an individual can request information through the order of a court (Court Order).

  • Q:

    I have just received my police check back from ACRO (ACRO Criminal Records Office) and the information I was sent is wrong what shall I do?

    A:

    (a) If your complaint is as a result of a subject access request from the ACPO Criminal Records Office please read the following: If your complaint is regarding a misspelling of your name or address then you need to contact the National Identification Service. Your request must be in writing and sent to ACRO (SAO), PO Box 623, Fareham, PO14 9HR or you can call them on 0845 60 13 999. (b) If your complaint is regarding a specific offence (i.e. I didn't commit that offence, the wording is wrong etc). Then you need to write to the Data Protection Unit of the Police Force that dealt with the offence in the first place. (c) For all offences relating to West Mercia Police please write to the Information Compliance Unit, enclosing a copy of your NIS disclosure and proof of identification.