15 August 2023
Derbyshire branch chair Tony Wetton has supported the “excellent work” of the Police Federation’s National Detectives' Forum (PFNDF) in highlighting the impact of data protection legislation on officers.
The Federation launched its #SimplifyDG6 campaign almost a year ago to amend the data protection laws and disclosure guidance.
It says they place significant time pressures on officers and tie up valuable resources.
Now Tony has welcomed an update from Ben Hudson, chair of the PFNDF, in which he said there was “a glimmer of hope” amendments could be made which would cut thousands of hours from officers’ workloads.
Tony said: “Ben and our colleagues on the PFNDF have done excellent work in raising the profile of our #SimplifyDG6 campaign and the impact the legislation is having on our members.
“Too much time and resource is being spent redacting case material before a charge has even been laid and it’s causing huge problems for forces and is impacting the delivery of justice.
“Changes will free up policing hours and enable chiefs to use their resources and budgets more efficiently and effectively.
“The campaign is gaining traction and has the support of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and MPs in Parliament, which is a testament to the hard work of the PFNDF.”
Tony Wetton, chair of Derbyshire Police Federation
An amendment to the Data Protection and Data Information (No. 2) Bill which seeks to adjust the Data Protection Act 2018 has been tabled by Jane Hunt and Peter Aldous, the Conservative MPs for Loughborough and Waveney respectively.
Under the proposed changes, police officers and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) would be exempt from certain data protection principles so they can share un-redacted data with each other when making charging decisions.
Ben, who is also secretary of the Suffolk Police Federation, said: “They aptly understand the hardships of thousands of police officers and they're calling on the Government to amend the data protection law to strengthen and expedite justice delivery.”
Ben said he was hopeful that with support in Westminster, the changes would free up officers’ time and save valuable resources.
He said: “The amendment would result in cutting thousands of hours from police officer workloads and save valuable resources where we have officers spending incredulous amounts of time meticulously reviewing and redacting material, even before the CPS makes a charging decision, thereby allowing them to focus on other policing priorities and being visible within their communities.”
Labour recently proposed that it would force police to recruit detectives direct from business if it won the next General Election because of a shortage of investigators.
But Ben said the amendment to data protection legislation would help to ease some of the problems resulting from a shortage of investigators without turning to the private sector to directly recruit detectives.
“It is heartening to see lawmakers across party lines agree there is an urgent need to reform the data protection law to help police officers utilise their time and resources more efficiently and effectively,” he said.
“The Government tells us it supports the amendment, but these words have been given in the absence of visible and time-bound action.
“The principles of consensual policing on which our police service rests, demands a steadfast political will of the Government of the day in supporting and providing police officers with the right resources and environment to keep the public safe and uphold the law.
“Unnecessary and problematic red tape must be cut when addressing matters of public safety, and both police officers and the public await the Government to exhibit its commitment by endorsing the amendment to the Bill and see it through the due legislative process when Parliament resumes business on 4 September after the summer recess.”