Data Protection

The Data Protection Act 1998 was brought into force on 1 March 2000 and works in two ways. It gives individuals certain rights. It also says that those who record and use personal information must be open about how the information is used and must follow the eight principles of 'good information handling'. They say that data must be:

  • Processed fairly and lawfully;
  • Processed for limited purposes
  • Adequate, relevant and not excessive
  • Accurate and up to date
  • Not kept longer than necessary
  • Processed in accordance with the data subject's rights
  • Secure
  • Not transferred to countries outside EEA without adequate protection

Are You?

If a request falls within the category of 'vetting', this goes to the Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) formally the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), which is an agency set up by the Government to provide vetting checks for employment purposes. The DBS offers three levels of checks, 'enhanced', 'standard' and 'basic'. If your work involves working with vulnerable adults and/or children you should contact the DBS direct on their information line 0870 90 90 811 or at their website and NOT submit a subject access application form.

It should be noted that the 'basic' check for other non DBS related employment is not yet available. Disclosure Scotland offer a 'basic' level check that is suitable for the majority of employment purposes and, in most cases, it only takes two weeks to receive the response. The 'basic' level check costs £25 and can be applied for on-line at This check will not show convictions classed as 'spent' under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, unlike a check carried out for subject access which lists all of a person's offences regardless of whether or not they are spent. 

Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office website. However, it is your responsibility to confirm with the relevant Embassy, High Commission or requesting authority that a Police Certificate will be acceptable.

Please note that this Certificate is processed entirely by the ACPO Criminal Records Office (ACRO) and applications should not be returned to Dorset Police. All submissions and enquiries relating to this process should be directed to ACRO, who can be contacted as follows:

Section 7 - Subject Access provision

Subject Access is a provision under the Data Protection Act 1998, which gives individuals the right of access to personal information held about themselves. Application for a 'Subject Access' costs £10. This is a fixed charge per application.

PLEASE NOTE: Dorset Police will only accept requests for local information. Please follow the guidelines below if you require a copy of your police record held on The Police National Computer (PNC). If Dorset Police receives requests which should have gone to ACRO these will not be processed and all documentation will be returned to you in second class post. Dorset Police accept no liability for loss of post whilst in transit.


Requesting access to information held on the PNC – including information relating to convictions, cautions/warnings reprimands & penalty notices for disorder

You should use the ACRO SAR1 form if you need a check to be made against your conviction history.

This will include recordable convictions, police cautions / warnings, reprimands and penalty notices for disorder. This form must be printed and completed following the instructions contained on the form.

It must be sent direct to ACRO (SAR), PO Box 662, Fareham, PO14 9LQ.

The processing of these applications is carried out by the Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office (ACRO) and all queries about how the process works, timescales for responses etc should be directed to ACRO on 0845 601 3999 (Mon - Fri 8:30 to 16:30), if calling from outside the UK dial +44 1962 871111 or alternatively email


Requesting access to information held by Dorset Police

If you wish to apply for personal information relating to you which may be held on Dorset Police information systems and paper records, for example, in cases where you have been a victim, a witness, an offender, or reported an incident to Dorset Police, you will need to complete the Subject Access Form SA1.1 and Guidance Notes. Please state what information you require and provide enough details to locate this information.

Completed forms SA1.1 should be sent to: 

Data Protection Office,
Professional Standards Department,
Dorset Police Headquarters,
DT2 8DZ.

(Further advice can be obtained by contacting the Dorset Police Data Protection Office - direct dial: 01202 223716)


Submitting application forms

ACRO SAR1 and Dorset Police SA1.1 application forms must each be accompanied by two identification documents* (copies of the identification documents are acceptable) and must be sent separately to the above addresses.  A receipt of application and payment will be provided by email (if provided). Alternatively, if receipt is required other than by email, a self addressed stamped envelope should be included with application.

(* the applicant must provide at least two forms of identification, (e.g. copies of Passport, Driving Licence, Birth/Marriage certificate, Utility Bill, Medical Card etc)  which are sufficient to prove their name, date and place of birth, current address and signature. If an applicant lives overseas and wishes their reply to be forwarded directly to an address in the UK, they must put this request in writing giving clear authority).

Please note - If you wish to apply for both categories of information, you will need to complete forms ACRO SAR 1 and SA1.1; however you are only required to make a single payment of the fee (£10) to ACRO.  Be sure to indicate that you have made applications to bothACRO and Dorset Police on the respective application forms. If you only require personal data held on Dorset Police systems, form SA1.1 should be submitted with £10 fee payable to ‘The Police and Crime Commissioner, Dorset’.


So what Information can be Disclosed to me, and how?

Still unsure as to where you should direct your Information Enquiry? Follow this link to our 'Accessing Information' step-by-step guide

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