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COPFS

Police – Data Protection Act (R008388)

Freedom of Information: Police – Data Protection Act

Thank you for your e-mail of 15 August 2014 under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) in which you seek the following information:

1) "How many accidents where there has been no charges to the driver responsible for the accident and someone has been killed has the procurator then had criminal charges brought against the individual after the inquest over the past 10 years please give year by year incidents";

2) How many alleged child abuse cases have you had where the individual denies the charge, and you have taken computers away from the alleged victim to search and identify if there are any connivance with individuals to set up the individuals charged for the crime?

If this comes to light after a person has been charged and been to court what will your process be when reported to the Scottish police forces since they are all under one unit, would you suggest that they make the complaint to the nearest English police force to investigate;"

3) How many police officers have been reported to the PF for using information out with the police services and breaching data protection?"


I have made enquiries into your request and outline the outcome of such below.

1) In Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) is responsible for both the prosecution of criminal offences and the investigation of deaths. During the investigation into a death, COPFS will consider all the evidence available in the case to determine the most appropriate way to proceed, whether that is by commencing criminal proceedings or holding a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI- the equivalent of an Inquest in England)..

COPFS uses a live operational case management system, specifically designed to receive criminal and death reports from the police and other specialist reporting agencies and to manage the cases for prosecution purposes. The information held on the system is structured for these operational needs, rather than for statistical reporting or research purposes. Accordingly, the COPFS case management system does not accurately record statistics relating to prosecutions for road traffic offences taken after an FAI, if indeed there have been any such prosecutions. Therefore, in order to identify such we would have to consider each individual case manually. Section 12(1) of FOISA does not oblige a Scottish public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request exceeds a specified financial threshold, which is currently £600. I consider that to conduct a manual search of this nature would exceed the current limit in terms of section 12 (1) of FOISA.

2) As per the guidance above, the COPFS case management system is structured for operational needs, rather than for statistical reporting or research purposes. Accordingly, the COPFS case management system does not accurately record statistics covering the circumstances you describe. Therefore, in order to identify any such instances we would have to consider each individual case manually. Once again, section 12(1) of FOISA does not oblige a Scottish public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request exceeds a specified financial threshold, which is currently £600. I consider that to conduct a manual search of this nature would exceed the current limit in terms of section 12 (1) of FOISA.

With regards your query as to the reporting mechanisms in relation to suspected criminal conduct, I can advise that if further alleged criminal activity is identified by the Procurator Fiscal, such matters would be reported to Police Scotland for further investigation if the suspected offence occurred within Scotland.

3) Following a search of our paper and electronic records I can confirm that information is held in relation to your request for the year 2013/14 only.

A total of 61 police officers were reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in relation to a contravention of the Data Protection Act 1998 for the fiscal year 2013/14.