Following the late receipt of my data pack under a Subject Access Request I had been forced to make by DCI Diane Darbyshire, I found that there were major discrepancies in the data.
- Some documents were over-redacted
- I was sent two copies of documents in some instances each of which redacted differently
- Some documents contained personal data of third parties, data of which I should not have been sent.
- Some documents were simply missing.
I raised these issues with the head of the Information Compliance Unit, Gill Bower-Lissaman. She refused to accept that this was a breach of the DPA, despite being provided with evidence to the contrary, insisting instead that SYP had processed the request inline with the requirements of the act.
I sent in a formal complaint to PSD outlining that DPA had been breached. Supt Mann, the head of PSD, attempted to fob this off by intervening and stating that he had personally reviewed the documents and they did comply with DPA. He did however accept that I had two copies of documents, one redacted one unredacted, but as one of them was redacted then that complies with DPA !
After 21 days of email exchanges, Supt Mann gave in and recorded the complaint. Lorna Smith, head of Conduct(HR), was assigned to perform Local Resolution.
I arranged to meet with Ms Smith at PSD offices. Unknown to myself, Ms Smith had also invited along Insp Bob Souter who had been working on the disclosure of documents for the Hillsborough Inquiries. He made it clear from the outset that he was very experienced in DPA disclosure and kept referring to decisions he had to make for Hillsborough.
Initially a number of my concerns were simply discounted by Insp Souter but eventually I got the message across and he agreed to look at the original documents vs the redacted ones i’d been sent. He took photocopies of the documents I had taken to the meeting.
The complaint was subsequently upheld and SYP offered an apology, they did not re-process the SAR though.
Since this complaint, I have managed to secure 3 additional sets of documents that had previously been withheld from me. This has required 2 referrals to the ICO and an FOI request to prove that data SYP claimed isn’t recorded is infact recorded.