Subject Access Requests

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You have the right to ask an organisation whether they are using or storing your personal information. You can also ask them for a copy of your personal information. 

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has a guide on how to make a Subject Access Request, which includes an online tool to help you through the process.

Accessing information held by the criminal justice system

The ICO has also published specific guidance on accessing information held by the criminal justice system.

Examples of the sorts of things you may like to ask for include:

  • Your interview statements
  • Footage of you captured through CCTV/ other recordable devices
  • Custody records
  • Correspondence between the police and other organisations, such as those providing support to you

Police Scotland also provides Tips for Applicants to help in making a Subject Access Request.

When the right to access might not apply

  • The police might remove information that relates to other people
  • The police may restrict what they give you if they feel it is necessary for the “prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of criminal offences” or the “execution of criminal penalties”
  • A judge’s notes
  • Anything that forms part of a court case must be accessed under the Criminal Procedure Rules
  • If the request is considered to be manifestly unfounded or excessive (this means that the request has to be for genuine purposes and that it is asking for a realistic amount of information)

Accessing information in order to travel abroad

If you need a copy of your criminal record because you want to apply for a visa to travel abroad, it is likely that you will need to contact the ACRO Criminal Records Office.

Our Travel page provides more information on foreign travel.

Accessing health records

NHS inform have produced a guide on accessing your health records.

Each organisation must be contacted separately. For example, your GP and a hospital must both be contacted separately. 

It should be free to receive a copy of your health records. However, if you need additional copies, they may charge. 

A table with examples of appropriate language use
A table showing the notification periods for the various sentence types. Prison sentence of 30 months or more (including life), Indefinite. Order for lifelong restriction, Indefinite. Admission to a hospital subject to a restriction order, Indefinite. Prison sentence of more than 6 months but less than 30 months, 10 years. Prison sentence of 6 months or less, 7 years. Admission to a hospital without a restriction order, 7 years. Community payback order with an offender supervision requirement, The length of the offender supervision requirement. Any other sentence (e.g. a fine or admonition), 5 years.
Last updated:
February 24, 2024


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