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Dorset Police Exemptions

Applying for Subject Access and Exemptions that May Apply

To apply for a copy of your personal data held by Dorset Police please apply by completing the SA1 form. Whilst the form is not required it will assist the Alliance Data Protection Team in providing the personal data that you are entitled to.

Requests can be made verbally (by phone or in person to a police station) but proof of identification is still required. This may involve the Alliance Data Protection Team contacting you to request copies of identification documents. Applications do not begin until we are satisfied as to the applicant’s identity.

Before you make a Subject Access request it is important to bear in mind that there are exemptions to this right of access as detailed in the Data Protection Act 2018. Dorset Police may decline to provide such information in certain circumstances:

Personal Data - Information requested using the Data Protection Act will only be disclosed if: It meets the definition of personal data (or information), that is information about or concerning the data subject (person whom the information is about). Information that contains a brief mention of a person may not be defined as personal data.


Section 54(4)(e) - Protecting the Rights and Freedoms of Others

Where the release of the information could lead to the identification of another individual to whom Dorset Police have a duty of confidence.
For example: this will often be where the recorded information involves more than one individual, e.g. a crime report identifies both a victim and suspect/offender. The offender will not normally be given personal details of victims and vice versa. Where appropriate consent may be sought of the third party to confirm whether they agree for their personal data to be provided to the applicant. This will be dependent on the relationship to the other party and the nature of the information concerned. If there are any concerns that consent is inappropriate, then the applicant will be advised accordingly.

Section 45(5)(b) – Prevention and Detection of Crime or the Apprehension or Prosecution of Offenders.
For example: we will not release information about an individual under these provisions if doing so could prejudice Dorset Police’s fight against crime. This will include ongoing investigations and impending court cases

Section 24 (5)-  Manually Unstructured Records
Explanatory note: Whilst the searching of electronic records can normally be completed using automatic search tools, searching for hand written records cannot and Dorset Police will often need to be advised where such information is held before they can accept such a request. Even where such paper records can be located if the cost of reviewing and releasing the information would be likely to exceed £450 (18 Hours) then it is outside the right of access granted by Parliament.

Section 53(1) - Manifestly Unfounded or Excessive

Where applications are deemed to be inappropriate (i.e. abusive or threatening) then an application can be refused.  If the application would require extensive work (i.e. over 30 hours) to provide the disclosure, then consideration will be made to make the request excessive.  Instead the applicant will be given a summary of the information involved and contacted to clarify what data is of most importance. This way the most significant information will be provided when the application involves the reviewing of considerable amounts of personal data.

There are other exemptions identified in the Data Protection Act 2018 which would be applied on a case by case basis.  Should any exemptions be applied then the applicant will be advised accordingly.

Release of personal information under this legislation is limited to information ‘relating to the applicant.’ It does not give a person access to information relating to other individuals. Information not relating to the applicant will be edited out.

Information released under the Subject Access provisions allows individuals to satisfy themselves that where information is being processed about them: it is processed lawfully, it is accurate, it is not excessive, and it is not being kept longer than necessary. It is, therefore, unlikely that this method will be an appropriate way to obtain information about others, nor is it likely to be suitable for individuals considering, or taking, legal action against an individual or organisation. In such circumstances the normal legal channels of disclosure, such as a Court Order, are generally more appropriate. Subject Access is also not an appropriate method to obtain personal data for an appeal against conviction. Please see the following government websites for more details on this process:



Further guidance on Exemptions and the Right to Appeal these decisions can be located at:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water lane

Tel: 0303 123 1113



Data Protection Officer
Alliance Data Protection Office, Devon and Cornwall Police
Police Headquarters
Middlemoor, Exeter
email: dataprotectionalliance@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk
Tel: 01392 226622