10 November 2022
New CPS disclosure guidelines brought in to ease the workload on detectives should be rolled out across the country as soon as possible, according to Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton.
The latest changes were made following the Police Federation’s successful #SimplifyDG6 campaign which was launched in August when it became clear members were struggling to cope with the additional paperwork regarding the submission of case files to the CPS for charging decisions.
The Police Federation National Detectives’ Forum (PFNDF) worked with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) to produced the revised Joint Principles for Redaction which were developed by the CPS and the NPCC Disclosure Portfolio setting out their joint position on how police officers and prosecutors should approach data protection responsibilities.
Tony has urged members to contact the Federation with feedback on the impact the changes to the system have had.
He said: “We are confident that the revised guidance will mean a significantly lighter workload for our members while keeping within the legal framework.
“But it would be great to hear what officers think of the revised guidance, if it has reduced their burden and if it is making the job a bit less stressful.
“We want to get an accurate picture of how much mitigation these joint principles bring to the huge task that redaction currently is for our members.
“So we welcome their feedback and their views on the revisions, and any other suggestions they might have for further improving the current system, would be most welcome.”
The revised principles are supported by legal advice from a King’s Counsel (KC) specialising in information law to ensure they’re legally robust and have been endorsed by the co-chairs of the Joint Operational Improvement Board (JOIB).
The main changes are:
• New Supporting Guidance to aid redaction decision-making, including how and when non-redaction can be justified on the grounds of disproportionality. To withstand any legal challenges, it’s important such decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, with the decision documented and approved at inspector rank or above.
• Updated FAQs following feedback on common disputes – changing approaches to data minimisation in favour of pragmatism, including when to consider the redaction of occupations, dates of births, vehicle registration numbers, suspects not charged and names of potential witnesses from witness statements. Given the volume of data breaches documented for these categories, the Federation expects to see a significant reduction in the volume of redaction required following these changes.