Where an agency is undertaking a prosecution they are permitted under the Data Protection Act 1998 to make a request under Section 29 of the Act for personal information relating to an alleged offender in terms of specific evidence required to further that investigation / prosecution. Where this is a legal request we have a duty to provide relevant information for the judicial process. The information is disclosed purely for the purpose of that investigation / prosecution.
We do receive requests purely for criminal record checks from statutory agencies e.g. Local Authorities, Social Services, Social Security / Pensions, Department of Transport etc (this may include the RSPCA on occasions in relation to an impending prosecution in gathering specific evidence of antecedents for a court hearing as required by national legislation) in connection with alleged offenders.
Link to section 29 Data Protection Act 1998
Reply from FOI Request from Kent Police
This appendix details the circumstances under which Kent Police would share information with organisations including the RSPCA and the type of information which would be shared.
"There is no definitive list of organisations that institute prosecutions in England and Wales. The common law power to instigate private prosecutions is preserved under section 6(1) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 and it is used by a number of organisations who otherwise do not have the statutory power to prosecute".
The power to prosecute
Everyone in England and Wales has the right to bring a private prosecution against someone who they believe has committed an offence.
Section 6(1) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985.