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When can the police disclose information about me?

If you have had dealings with the police, it’s possible we hold some personal information about you on our records. You have the right to ask for any of this information, whether it’s for an employment vetting process, a visa application, family court proceedings or to check the accuracy of what we hold.

Find out below all the different circumstances in which the police can disclose information about you.

Subject access requests

The Data Protection Act 2018 gives you the right to ask if the police holds, or is processing, any personal data about you. This is called the right of access and is commonly known as making a subject access request or SAR. To make a subject access request, visit our Request information about myself or others page. The subject access process is confidential between the applicant and the police. We cannot provide details of another person this way.

It is against the law for an employer, or potential employer, to ask you to perform a subject access request as a condition of your employment. Instead, they can ask you to perform a criminal conviction check or complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) or enhanced security check. See below for details.

Find out more about data protection in the Information Commissioner's Office guide to GDPR.

Criminal record checks

If you're looking for a police certificate for a visa application, or details of your full criminal conviction history for your own records, submit a request to the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) Criminal Records Office also known as ACRO.

If an employer, or potential employer, has asked for this information, you should request a basic Disclosure and Barring (DBS) check. The reason for this is that certain details that would be included in an ACRO disclosure (above) by law do not need to be disclosed to an employer.

Enhanced security checks

If your work, either as a paid employee or as a volunteer, will bring you into contact with children or vulnerable adults you may also be asked to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

In situations where you’ll be regularly caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of vulnerable groups, including children, you may even be required to complete an enhanced level check. Both DBS checks and enhanced level checks are carried out by the DBS. Applications for both are usually carried out via your employer.

To find out more or get an update on a security check that has taken longer than 60 days, visit our What is the status of my DBS application? page.

Family court proceedings

If you’re due to be involved in family law proceedings, it’s possible to give advanced notice to us and other parties involved, such as children’s social care. This way, we can share any information needed ahead of the planned court date, so that family cases can be contemplated in possession of all the available facts.

This is especially important when the safety or welfare of family members is in question. To start this process, visit our Request information about myself or others page.

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