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Police records – Subject access request

The easiest and cheapest way to find out your criminal record is to apply for a copy of your police records from the Police.

You’re entitled to exercise your rights to obtain information that is held about you under the Data Protection Act 1998. This process is known as a Subject Access Request.

Although this relates to lots of different government agencies, in relation to the police, a subject access request is your right of access to verify the information held about you on police computers.

A subject access request to the Police National Computer will either provide a certificate stating that there is currently no information held about you on the Police National Computer, or it will provide a list of all the information held on the computer including all convictions, whether they are spent or unspent.

You can also choose to ask to see what is held locally by the Police. This can include arrests, allegations, and Not Guilty findings

This page will explain this in more detail.

Name

Police Subject Access Request  (often referred to as “Police records” )

Issued by

Local police force (or ACRO, who disclose PNC data on behalf of most forces) under the Data Protection Act 1998

Use

To establish what information the Police hold on you for your own purposes to ensure that police information is accurate.

What it contains

Details of all personal information which the Police hold on you, including what is held on the PNC and what is held on local police records (depending on what information you ask to see)

How to apply

  • You can apply via your local Police Force. Each police force normally has a form to complete, which is usually available online but can also be requested in writing.
  • ACRO provides Subject Access disclosures from the Police National Computer on behalf of most police forces in England and Wales (apart from Derbyshire, Gwent and Sussex), Northern Ireland, Jersey and the Isle of Man.  Requests can be made by post or online. Details of both can be found here. ACRO also have a useful further guidance page providing additional information on SAR’s.
  • If you want a copy of all of your personal data, you should make sure that you request to see both PNC data and any information held locally by your local police force.

If you apply online via ACRO, you can choose to get the details sent by email.

 

Who can apply for it

You only.

You should not be required by anybody else to provide a copy of your police records to them. If this happens, you should read our guidance on enforced subject access.

Contact details

You will need to contact the Data Protection team at your local Police Force. Links are available here. Many requests relate to information held on the PNC, and the majority of these are dealt with by ACRO. Their contact details are below:

A: ACRO (SAO), PO Box 623, Fareham, Hampshire, PO14 9HR

T: 02380 479 920
E: customer.services@acro.pnn.police.uk
W: www.acro.police.uk

Cost

Free of charge.

How long it takes

Within one calendar month.

Where it is sent

To you only. Subject Access disclosures (Police records) are not designed to be used by employers as the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act are not applied (see ‘Other information’)

Link to anonymous examples

SAR (PNC) front page
Click above image to go to a readable version of this letter and four examples pages of a Police Record – SAR.

How to correct inaccurate information

If you feel the information in inaccurate, you will need to contact the police force who holds the information outlining the inaccurate information. Each Chief Police Officer is the Data Controller for their PNC record, and has the ability to delete information. There is an exceptional case procedure, but this is normally confined to deleting local police information such as allegations.

Enforced subject access

It was announced in early 2014 that the final elements of the Police Act 1997 will take effect. With this comes the news that enforced subject access will be a criminal offence. This came into force on 10th March 2015. Read more here.

Comments

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    1. Hi Julie

      You can get a copy of your criminal record by applying for a Subject Access Request (SAR) to ACRO Criminal Records Office – https://www.acro.police.uk/Subject-access. The SAR is free of charge and the police ask you to allow 30 days in which to return it to you. It’s important to note that SAR’s should not be passed to employers, insurers etc – the information is essentially ‘for your eyes only’.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  1. Does the SAR return all of the information returned on a Police Certificate, or does the Police Certificate go further? Eg. if an SAR comes back with no data held, does that mean the Police Certificate will also come back with no data / no trace?

    1. Hi Joe

      Your SAR will show every interaction you’ve had with the police whereas your Police Certificate will only disclose cautions or convictions which have NOT been ‘stepped down’. If there is nothing on your SAR then your Police Certificate will merely state ‘No Trace’.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  2. Hello I had a 1 year ban from driving in my early 20s , do I have to add that to my ACRO form or is it spent ?

    1. Hi Winnie

      Many people who receive a driving ban will also receive an endorsement on their driving licence. Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) a driving ban and endorsement would become spent after 5 years at which time they will no longer appear on your basic Disclosure and Barring Service certificate and wouldn’t have to be disclosed to an employer.

      Your driving offence would be removed from a standard and enhanced DBS certificate after a period of 11 years.

      The Subject Access Request (SAR) which you have received from ACRO is a copy of your police record (a copy of everything which is held on the Police National Computer). Cautions and convictions will stay on here until you are 100 years old but this isn’t something that you should ever share with an employer, it is for your information only.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  3. An on-duty Police officer used their personal mobile phone to take photos and videos of me during an interaction, is this digital media available to me through a public access request?

    1. Hi I was arrested at the beginning of November 2020 and held overnight and was released without being charged. I would like to know the exact date of arrest because I’m not sure, police station not very helpful can I find this information on line now ? Thanks

      1. Hi William

        The best way to find out the date you were arrested is to apply for a copy of your police record (often referred to as a Subject Access Request). You can do this by completing the online form on the ACRO Criminal Records Office website (https://www.acro.police.uk/Subject-access). It’s free of charge and usually takes a couple of weeks, although the police do ask you to allow 30 days.

        Best wishes

        Debbie

  4. I have criminal record sexual assault ,I get 100 hours community service this was in 2006 almost 17 years, spent long time ago, but still show up my dbs certificate

    1. Hi Yonas

      As you may be aware, convictions stay on your criminal record until you are 100 years old – if you are looking at a copy of your police record (otherwise known as a Subject Access Request) that’s why it is still appearing.

      However based on the information you have provided, under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA), your conviction is now considered spent and should no longer appear on a basic Disclosure an Barring Service (DBS) certificate. It will however remain on both a standard and enhanced DBS as your offence is one which is not eligible to be filtered (removed).

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  5. do photos taken at a police station for interview appear on the PNC, and are available for the SAR and DBS check or no? i presume a picture is not a search term, but it can be checked against the ID provided to confirm the same person? the interview case was NFA’d but just wondering.

    Also do you get both the SAR and the certificate? And is the SAR or certificate information the DBS check information, or is there a difference in some way?

    Thanks

  6. I have submitted an SAR to the police asking for information about an interview with the police involving two police officers, my wife and myself. Since then, my wife has died and the police are refusing to respond to the SAR. I have supplied my ID proofs, proof of being my late wife’s sole executor and of being her Personal Representative. The police are refusing my request.

    What can I do?

  7. Hello

    Police say they have “documentary evidence” of me. The alleged offence is “Use a handheld mobile phone/ device while driving” I really don’t think I held my phone, I use it as a satnav attached to a holder on my dash board.

    I sent an email to the local police traffic Bureau that responded stating “Police evidence can only be produced in court”

    Is this accurate I thought I had the right to access my personal data?

    I spoke to the ICO and they said that is correct but they cannot comment on any exclusions. Are you able to advice on what exclusions there may me. It was North Yorkshire police.

    Kind regards

    Anon

  8. Hello
    I was recently recalled and my probation officer is reluctant to show me the licence she recalled me on.
    The prison services and my solicitor have attempted to get a copy but without any luck.

    1. Hi Tasha

      Unfortunately you wouldn’t be able to apply for your late father’s criminal record. Subject Access Requests have to be applied for by the individual they relate to.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  9. Hello Debbie,

    I’m really concerned about a cannabis warning I received 10yrs ago.
    Would this show on a DBS check & should I be disclosing this to employers?

    Thanks & regards,

    1. Hi Steve

      Cannabis warnings are not disclosed in the main body of any type of DBS certificate. The police can, if they think it relevant to the job you are applying for, choose to disclose it as additional information on an enhanced DBS certificate. However, it’s important to say that this is extremely unlikely to happen. You can find further information about cannabis warnings at https://unlock.org.uk/advice/cannabis-warning/.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

      1. Hello Debbie,

        Thank you so much for taking the time to reply & providing reassurance to my concerns.
        All the very best.

        Many regards,
        Steve

    1. Hi

      Your conviction from 36 years ago is now deemed spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA). It would no longer appear on a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and for the majority of jobs would not need to be disclosed.

      If you were applying for any role which was exempt from the ROA and which required either a standard or enhanced DBS check then your conviction would always appear on these types of check and would have to be disclosed to an employer if they asked.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  10. I’m not sure if this is the place to ask , so I apologise if it is not, I was arrested and convicted of a handful of public order offences 18months ago. During the arrest, body worn camera footage was collected. Due to my previous employment the story made local headlines. How will I know if the local constabulary intend to release the footage of my arrest ?

    1. Hi Al

      More and more police forces are using body worn cameras to log incidents, capture exchanges and provide evidence that can be used in any prosecution. They wouldn’t usually release footage to the media or to an employer.

      I hope this helps set your mind at rest.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

      1. Hi Debbie,

        Thank you so much for your reply and furthermore, thank you to everyone at Unlock for the superb work you all do.

    1. Hi Daniel

      As you are probably aware, the usual way to get a copy of your police record is to apply online to the ACRO Criminal Records Office – http://www.acro.police.uk/Subject-access. If you have a family member or friend that has access to your ID then you could give consent for them to apply for this on your behalf. Alternatively, in some prisons it is possible to make a request through the Prison Governor.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

    1. Hi Martin

      If you apply to ACRO for a copy of your criminal record this would show whether you were given a non-molestation order and if so, what the length of the order was.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  11. I have been arrested for stolen a jacket I just wanna know if that going to my record criminal or nah ?

  12. Hi

    In 2014 I was caught with one gram of cocaine. I got a £100 fine for this, do you know if this means it will show up on my criminal record? And if so, does it ever become spent?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Mark

      I can confirm that your conviction from 2014 is now considered ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) and would no longer need to be disclosed when applying for the majority of jobs. It wouldn’t appear on a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

      It would be filtered (removed) from a standard and enhanced DBS certificate after 11 years (5.5 years if you were under 18) – https://unlock.org.uk/advice/filtering-cautions-convictions/. Once it has been filtered it is deemed ‘protected’ and wouldn’t have to be disclosed to any employer recruiting into roles which are exempt from the ROA.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  13. I have lots of previous convictions for petty crimes. I have had none since 2015. If the police came to me about a incident I want to report will they see my previous convictions.

  14. Hi Debbie,
    Hoping you’re still here to help with this one.
    I recently requested an Acro and it has got a reprimand I received when I was 15 which I did not think should have been there given the step down rules. I do have few more minor convictions since then mostly driving related and last of which was 2016 so not sure if this has anything to do with or there’s something else at play here.

    1. Hi Mo

      If you’ve received a Subject Access Request from ACRO then this is basically just a copy of the information held about you on the Police National Computer (PNC) and as you may be aware, this information stays on the PNC until you reach the age of 100.

      However, if you apply for a copy of your Police Certificate (through ACRO) or a standard or enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate then your reprimand will be stepped down or filtered.

      Best wishes

      Debbie

  15. Hi,

    My Ex wife reported an incident of Domestic Abuse in 2018. The police arrested me but after investigation they gave me “NFA”. Will this appear on the ACRO Police certificate for immigration purposes since I wasn’t charged, reprimanded or cautioned by police.

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Photo of Head of Advice, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Head of Advice

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