Under Data Protection legislation, the police can request access to person confidential information for the prevention or detection of crime and/or for the apprehension or prosecution of offenders.

Requests from the police and other law enforcement agencies must be made formally in writing on a fully completed Data Protection Form / Information Disclosure Request Form (previously often referred to as a Section 29 Form), the format of which may vary from force to force or crime agency to crime agency. This will set out what information is required and the reasons why it is needed. It is important that all requests are made using this form. Ideally these must be signed by the requesting officer and ideally should also be signed by a senior officer.

The form should clearly include details of:

  • The crime/incident under investigation;
  • What information they require access to and why it is pertinent to their case;
  • Whether the individual is the (alleged) perpetrator or victim, and;
  • Whether the indivdiual is aware of the disclosure request and has consented to the disclosure (or whether seeking consent would prejudice their investigation and, if so, how and why).

Police requests must be sent to the Information Governance (Access to Records) Team at SAR@merseycare.nhs.uk

Never feel pressurised or bullied into disclosing information regardless of who the request is from.

Whilst we clearly want to assist the police with their investigations and enquiries, we have a duty of confidentiality to our patients and need to ensure any disclosure is lawful and appropriate. Any decision on disclosure lies with the Trust and disclosure should not be excessive and should be pertinent to the case in question.

Guidance is also available within Sections 16.16 to 16.25 of the Trust’s Corporate Data Protection Act 2018 & UK General Data Protection Regulations Policy (IT14) which is available on the Trust website.