West Midlands Police received a Subject Access Request (‘SAR’) for the release of CCTV that they held containing the personal information of the person who made the request.
After the SAR was submitted, rather than complying with the legislation, West Midlands Police refused to fulfil their legal obligations in providing the personal data to the person, saying the following;
A subject access request would provide you with confirmation that CCTV footage exists and a still photograph of xxx in the footage would be provided.
Nothing in Legislation says that a SAR for CCTV can be replaced simply with ‘confirmation the CCTV exists’ and ‘a still image’.
The person did make it clear that he understood that any faces of 3rd parties would be redacted (blurred out).
The ICO even have published a very simple document that explains the rules.
You would expect the Data Protection Officer at West Midlands police to be able to understand such a simple document. https://ico.org.uk/media/1542/cctv-code-of-practice.pdf
The incorrect information was coming from Kate Jeffries who is the Assistant Director of Information Management at West Midlands Police, who proudly presents her qualifications as CCP, CiSMP GDPR-F DPO-C (DPO, Accreditor)
How could Kate Jeffries, with all these qualifications get such a simple SAR so wrong that the ICO had to step in and correct her?
West Midlands Police Data Protection insisted that they didn’t have to release the CCTV.
The ICO was notified and after a lot of attempts to fob this off by West Midlands Police, the ICO said the following;
Dear Mr xxx
Thank you for your response in relation to this matter.
Yes, I am of the view that you are entitled to the redacted video footage and I will provide this view to West Midlands Police and inform them that you have requested the full redacted footage.
Information Commissioner’s Office
So, the Data Protection Officer (‘DPO’) of West Midlands Police either did not know the rules of a simple SAR or, more likely, intentionally tried to block access to the footage.
The footage was of a crime that West Midlands police refused to investigate and are desperate to ensure that it remains locked away.