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Data Protection Act 1998 (R012097)

Data Protection Act 1998 (R012097)

Thank you for your e-mail of 12 January 2016 in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA):


a. How many members of COPFS staff have been investigated under any section of the Data Protection Act 1998 between:

     (i)  1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013

     (ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date.

b. How many members of COPFS staff were subject to a criminal report under any section of the Data Protection Act 1988 between:

     (i)  1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013

     (ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date.

c.  For those members of COPFS staff who were subject to a criminal report under any section of the Data Protection Act 1988, what was the average length of time for the case to be marked as to whether criminal proceedings would take place or not between:

     (i)  1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013

     (ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date.

d. How many members of Police Civilian staff were subject to a criminal report under any section of the Data Protection Act 1988 between:

     (i)  1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013

     (ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date.

e. For members of Police Civilian staff who were subject to a criminal report under any section of the Data Protection Act 1988, what was the average length of time for the case to be marked as to whether criminal proceedings would take place or not when the case was received at COPFS between:

     (i)  1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013

     (ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date.

f. For members of Police Civilian staff who were subject to a criminal report under any section of the Data Protection Act 1998, what was the percentage which resulted in criminal proceedings when the case was received at COPFS between:

     (i)  1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013

     (ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date.

g. How many Police Officers were subject to a criminal report under any section of the Data Protection Act 1988 between:

     (i)  1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013

     (ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date.

h. For Police Officers who were subject to a criminal report under any section of the Data Protection Act 1988, what was the average length of time for the case to be marked as to whether criminal proceedings would take place or not when the case was received at COPFS between:

     (i)  1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013

     (ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date.

i. For Police Officers who were subject to a criminal report under any section of the Data Protection Act 1998, what was the percentage which resulted in criminal proceedings when the case was received at COPFS between:

     (i)  1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013

     (ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date.

j.  How many Police Officers, who are subject to a criminal report under any section of the Data Protection Act 1998, are awaiting a decision of whether criminal proceedings will take place or not and their report was received at COPFS between:

    (i) 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013

    (ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date.

I refer also to your email of 11 February requesting a review of our delay in responding to your request.  I apologise for the delay but, by way of an explanation, cases reported to COPFS during the period of your request which featured police civilians or COPFS staff as accused are not electronically identifiable on our system.  A manual search of case reports which met the criteria of this aspect of your request was required to be able to provide you with a response and this caused the delay.

Before I respond to the aspects of your request which relate to civilian police and COPFS staff, I should explain that cases reported against this category of accused  cannot  be  separately  identified  electronically from our system so to provide data for both date ranges given at (i) and (ii) COPFS  staff  would  have  to  consider  each  individual report submitted  in  relation  to  breach  of  data  protection  legislation  to check whether  the  accused  was  civilian police or a member of COPFS staff,  and  the  time  taken  to  complete  this  task would exceed  the  upper  cost  limit  of  £600. 

Under Section  12  of  FOISA,  public authorities  are  not  required  to  comply  with  a  request  for  information  if  the  authority estimates  that  the  cost  of  complying  would  exceed  the  upper  cost  limit,  which  is currently  set  at  £600  by  Regulations  made  under  Section  12.  Accordingly, we can only provide data within our cost limit which would cover the period from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2013.  Having explained this I will now address the aspects of your request which relate to civilian police or COPFS staff in turn:

a. How many members of COPFS staff have been investigated under any section of the Data Protection Act 1998 between:

     (i)  1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013

     (ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date.

I have interpreted “investigated” as criminal investigation to establish whether a crime has been committed which is primarily the responsibility of Police Scotland. Not all incidents investigated by Police Scotland result in a report to COPFS and I would advise you to refer this aspect of your request to Police Scotland using the contact details on their website at: http://www.scotland.police.uk/access-to-information/freedom-of-information

COPFS have received one report for consideration in relation to a member of COPFS staff as detailed below:

b. How many members of COPFS staff were subject to a criminal report under any section of the Data Protection Act 1988 between:

 

 

 (i)  1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013
(ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date
(i) One report was received during this period in relation to a member of COPFS staff.
(ii) Information exempt under Section 12 of FOISA as explained above.


c.  For those members of COPFS staff who were subject to a criminal report under any section of the Data Protection Act 1988, what was the average length of time for the case to be marked as to whether criminal proceedings would take place or not between:

     (i)  1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013

     (ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date.

This aspect of your request relates to information which is not recorded by COPFS and is therefore not held in terms of Section 17 of FOISA. The time taken to reach a decision is one of our key performance targets and details of the target are published on our website at http://www.copfs.gov.uk/publications/statistics


d.  How many members of Police Civilian staff were subject to a criminal report under any section of the Data Protection Act 1988 between:

     (i)  1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013

     (ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date.

     (i)  There were 9 members of Police Civilian staff reported to COPFS during this period.

    (ii)  Information exempt under Section 12 of FOISA as explained above.

e. For members of Police Civilian staff who were subject to a criminal report under any section of the Data Protection Act 1988, what was the average length of time for the case to be marked as to whether criminal proceedings would take place or not when the case was received at COPFS between:

     (i)  1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013

     (ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date.

This aspect of your request relates to information which is not recorded by COPFS and is therefore not held in terms of Section 17 of FOISA. The time taken to reach a decision is one of our key performance targets and details of the target are published on our website at http://www.copfs.gov.uk/publications/statistics

f. For members of Police Civilian staff who were subject to a criminal report under any section of the Data Protection Act 1998, what was the percentage which resulted in criminal proceedings when the case was received at COPFS between:

     (i)  1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013

     (ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date.

I can advise that of the 9 reports received over period (i) of your request 3 resulted in court proceedings.

COPFS Criminal Allegations against the Police Division (CAAP-D) was  formed  in  2013  to  deal  with  criminal  allegations  made  against  on-duty  police officers. Cases reported to CAAP-D are identifiable on our electronic systems by their reference numbers and this allows us to search for them electronically.  

Cases reported against police  officers  before  the  formation of  CAAP-D  cannot  be  separately  identified  in  this way, and so to provide data for the part of the period you have enquired about prior to 1  April  2013, COPFS  staff  would  be  required  to  consider  individually  each  report submitted  in  relation  to  breach  of  data  protection  legislation  in  order  to  ascertain whether  the  accused  was  a  police  officer,  and  the  time  taken  to  complete  this  task would exceed  the  upper  cost  limit  of  £600.  Under Section  12  of  FOISA,  public authorities  are  not  required  to  comply  with  a  request  for  information  if  the  authority estimates  that  the  cost  of  complying  would  exceed  the  upper  cost  limit,  which  is currently  set  at  £600  by  Regulations  made  under  Section  12.  Accordingly, we can only provide data for the period from 1 April 2013 to the date of your request on 12 January 2016. 

I have attached at Annex A below a table of data relating to Police Officers reported for data protection offences from 1 April 2013 to 12 January 2016.  This table contains details which answer the points in your request at g. and j. below, and provides you with data you require to answer point i. 

h.  For Police Officers who were subject to a criminal report under any section of the Data Protection Act 1988, what was the average length of time for the case to be marked as to whether criminal proceedings would take place or not when the case was received at COPFS between

     (i)  1 April 2010 and 31 March 2013

     (ii) 1 April 2013 and the current date

This aspect of your request relates to information which is not recorded by COPFS and is therefore not held in terms of Section 17 of FOISA. The time taken to reach a decision is one of our key performance targets and details of the target are published on our website at http://www.copfs.gov.uk/publications/statistics


Annex A

Police officers reported for data protection offences

1 April 2013 to 12 January 2016



2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

Total

No action

31

24

2

57

Direct Measures (Warning)

9

5

0

14

Court Proceedings

14

3

0

17

Conviction

6

0

0

6

No Further Action

2

0

0

2

Ongoing

6

3

1

10

No decision yet

10

21

17

48

Total

64

53

20

137


Direct Measures are available to COPFS as an alternative to prosecution and can include Diversion; Work Offer; Compensation; Fiscal Fine; Warning.  All of the police officers in the table above who received a disposal of direct measure were given a warning.  More information on direct measures is accessible on the COPFS web-site at http://www.copfs.gov.uk/about-us/what-we-do/10-about-us/297-alternative-to-prosecution