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Subject access: your right to see your personal data


There are a few circumstances in which you may want to review personal data held about you by the police and other organisations. Here is everything that you need to know about finding and accessing that personal data.

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The Data Protection Act 1998

The Data Protection Act gives individuals the right to access data about them that is being held by the government and various organisations, such as the police. This is called subject access, and there are only a few things that could affect you looking at your personal data:

If the data is being used for the process of detecting and preventing crime.
If it is in the interests of national security.
If the data is being used to aid with apprehending and prosecuting criminals.

If you want to find out what data the police hold about you, you can speak to the police. The Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office handles requests relating to the Police National Computer (PNC) database, and when you apply to see your data, your application will be processed by this body.

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If you want to apply now, head to the National Police Chief’s Council website.

Requests that relate to Freedom of Information

If you are looking for more general information from the police that isn’t personal to you (such as information about a company, a building or your council), you will need to make a Freedom of Information request.

DBS checks

A DBS check will confirm that you don’t have any convictions or a criminal record, although it won’t show convictions that are classed as spent. This check is essential if you want to work with children, vulnerable adults or the police, and some changes have been made to the DBS process in the last few years, so if you want to get a DBS check, it could be beneficial to visit aprovider like carecheck, to find out more about the process.

Normally when you apply for this check, you will hear back fairly quickly. Most people receive a response within two weeks, but it can take longer if the service is particularly busy. For this reason, it is best to apply for the check sooner rather than later – especially if your career is depending upon it!

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