Police Federation

Government must amend data law as recommended by its review

PFEW's National Detectives' Forum Chair, DI Ben Hudson, urges the Government to adopt Home Office Policing Productivity Review's recommendation to introduce legislative change in the Data Protection Act to allow easy sharing of information between police and the CPS.

24 April 2024


The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) acknowledges the Government’s response, announced on Wednesday [23 April 2024], to the Home Office’s Policing Productivity Review whereby it announced investment in technology to “enable police officers to spend less time in the office, and more in our communities”.

However, the Government’s announcement completely ignores key issues and recommendations of the very same review to mitigate barriers to more productive criminal justice processes, which PFEW has been campaigning on since August 2022 through its #SimplifyDG6 campaign.

PFEW’s National Detectives’ Forum Chair, Detective Inspector Ben Hudson, said: “The recommendations to which the Government has selectively turned a blind eye are a carbon copy of our #SimplifyDG6 campaign which seeks a legislative change to the Data Protection Act to exempt the police service from additional redaction of material while submitting case files to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) at the pre-charge stage.

“Despite the proposed legislative change having been brought before both houses of Parliament on numerous occasions, the Government has refused to support it. The legally vetted proposed clause would have no direct or indirect disadvantage, or disrupt the fabric of the Data Protection Act, as it ensures security of personal data would not be compromised. It merely seeks to avoid unnecessary, time-wasting redactions.

“The reasons for the Government’s apathy are beyond our comprehension and feels misguided.”

The Home Office’s review found that “redaction will always be required for files that progress to court. However, police officers will have spent 210,000 hours redacting material for the estimated 38,274 files that do not progress beyond CPS.” (p76, THE POLICING PRODUCTIVITY REVIEW – Improving outcomes for the public, October 2023).

In order to lessen this unnecessary burden on officers, the Home Office’s review recommended that “the Government should introduce an exemption to the Data Protection Act by March 2024 to incentivise closer joint working between police and the CPS, including easier sharing of material at early stage for CPS advice” (p66).

Additionally, the Home Office’s review observed that “there are technical solutions to reducing the time spent by forces on redacting text material. About 770,000 hours are spent by investigators redacting text material annually. If digital redaction only achieved a 80 per cent saving in time efficiency, this could free up 618,000 hours of investigators’ time. If the recommendation above is in place, then this concerns only 141,416 files and the saving would be 486,471 hours” (p76).

The PFEW strongly urges the Government to adopt all the recommendations of the Home Office’s review to genuinely reform and improve processes for police officers and the CPS.


More details about the #SimplifyDG6 campaign can be found here:

What’s stopping the Government to reform justice delivery? (polfed.org)

Home Affairs Committee supports #SimplifyDG6 campaign (polfed.org)

‘Real reason’ why the Government did not support amendment to Data Protection and Data Information Bill (No.2) (polfed.org)

April 2024 :: 4 (yudu.com)


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