The police need better guidance on how to interpret the Data
Protection Act so they know what information to store and when to
share it, according to the Home Office, writes Sally
In its written submission to the Bichard Inquiry into how Ian
Huntley was allowed to get a job as a caretaker, the Home Office
said additional and clearer guidance to forces on the implications
of the Data Protection Act for the retention and use of criminal
and local intelligence information was needed.
The inquiry, which begins next week, will hear from witnesses
including North East Lincolnshire social services, Humberside and
Cambridgeshire police forces, the Criminal Records Bureau and the
A working group chaired by the Home Office that includes
information commissioner Richard Thomas and representatives from
the Association of Chief Police Officers is now looking at how the
guidelines on data sharing can be improved.
The Home Office also says that there have been discussions among
ministers about establishing a national database that would hold
soft information, such as cautions and police warnings, which could
be accessed by forces across England and Wales.