|POLICE SHARE RESTRICTED DATA WITH CHARITY|
I am very concerned about the extent to which private information and data held by the police is being provided to private organisations, such as the RSPCA.The RSPCA is a private organisation. Its employees are ordinary members of the public. Yet, I believe that there are constabularies which have private arrangements with the RSPCA for the provision of
information to that organisation of private and sensitive information about individuals, which information might be of use to the RSPCA and its ruling Councillors in their political and other objectives.
As you may know, the RSPCA is run by a ruling Council of 26 persons. At least 18 of these people are either members of, or actively support, an extreme animal rights organisation called Animal Aid. I am concerned that data concerning individuals who do not support the extreme animal rights agenda of the RSPCA and Animal Aid may be falling into the hands of those organisations, and their "partners".
I understand that the RSPCA are able to use the police radio network, called Airwave, but that requests for such things as PNC checks are sometimes handled directly by the RSPCA's Political Headquarters in Horsham. As you may be aware, the RSPCA has a close relationship with many journalists - I am concerned that any channel for information to be obtained unlawfully from the police and/or provided by the police in an unregulated manner should be closed off.
Would you therefore please provide me with data, detailing how many requests for information from the police have been received by the Constabulary from the RSPCA annually during the last five years
broken down annually.
Metropolitan Police Service
Previous case files will need to be looked in order to determine those cases which were joint with the RSPCA and then look for records where PNC information had been shared.
All of this would provide only a simple "Yes, we have shared PNC information with the RSPCA"
The RSPCA undertakes prosecutions in relation to persons who have committed offences involving animals. Within Norfolk these prosecution details are updated onto the Police National Computer (PNC) by Norfolk Constabulary and PNC information is provided in support of these. In addition to this, the Constabulary will undertake vehicle checks in support of an ongoing investigation.
There are 9 members of the RSPCA who are authorised to undertake these enquiries with Norfolk Constabulary.
Currently and historically the Police in England and Wales and the RSPCA have mounted joint Operations where the responsibility or ownership for the reporting of a case by either
the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) or by the RSPCA is decided in advance.
I am able to confirm that your request has been processed under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) and following enquiries within the Hertfordshire Constabulary Information Services Office and have been advised that 2 requests for disclosure from the RSPCA were received in 2008, 1 request from a solicitor representing the RSPCA was received in 2008, 1 request from a solicitor representing the RSPCA was received in 2007 and 1 request for disclosure from the RSPCA was received in 2006.
Devon and Cornwall Constabulary
There is a full audit trail of all PNC transactions and this includes any RSPCA users that are permitted to request PNC checks to performed.
For example, control room operators will have dealings with the RSPCA and we may have received requests for help with powers of entry and powers of animal seizure or animal destruction in cruelty case,
West Yorkshire Police
West Yorkshire Police occasionally assist the RSPCA with enquiries.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary
The RSPCA can apply for previous convictions of persons they have summonsed regarding criminal offences, e.g. cruelty to animals. The disclosure is made under the rules of the Data Protection Act. All outside agencies sign an indemnity to safeguard the information, disclosure is only made to authorised persons within the agency. Statistics for individual outside agencies are not kept, and we have no electronic system which could facilitate such a search. The only way we could possibly retrieve any information would be to manually review all offence categories which the RSPCA (along with other agencies) would fall under, then review each to establish if the RSPCA had requested information. For example there have been 136 such offences so far this year
I have also caused a search of force information systems for the last 5 years to be carried out for any reference to RSPCA. This has revealed that there are a total of 4738 records which carry such a reference as well as 225 intelligence records
Cumbria Constabulary does not hold a central database of records in relation to requests for information received from the RSPCA. Such requests could be received via the Force Wildlife Officer, through the Force Intelligence Bureau, or in a variety of other departments.
South Yorkshire Police
There have been 2 instances where the RSPCA have approached the Police for information.
We note your concern regarding the disclosure of information to organisations and I have
therefore included below a link to an appendix contained within Kent Police Policy ‘D14
Information Sharing and Disclosure’. 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.
Private arrangements to provide personal information (the premise on which your request appears to be based) would breach data protection legislation and the Standards of Professional Behaviour contained in the Schedule to the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008. For the avoidance of doubt, no such arrangements exist in Kent Police nor would any such arrangements be tolerated.
[BUT - RSPCA is then bizarrely listed in Kent Police's linked document as within the category of "PROSECUTING & REGULATORY AUTHORITIES" along with the Benefits Agency, HMRC and other agencies of national and local government, despite the fact that they are an entirely private organisation, employing ordinary members of the public with no special powers or duties - and the RSPCA is not an 'authority', whether public or otherwise]