Protection from harm or more harm than good? A critical evaluation of the PHOENIX Police National Computer application and concurrent police compliance with applicable data protection legislation

Baldwin, Chris (2019) Protection from harm or more harm than good? A critical evaluation of the PHOENIX Police National Computer application and concurrent police compliance with applicable data protection legislation. Doctoral thesis, University of Sunderland.

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Abstract

‘Big Data’ and the General Data Protection Regulations have been a prevailing feature of legal discourse in recent years, with interest in data protection law generally reaching a hitherto unprecedented pitch. Yet almost wholly outwith the parameters of current debate, the police in England and Wales are collating, storing and retaining on their Police National Computer data relating to offences and offenders (suspected or convicted) which now encompasses over twelve million citizens.
While there has been a growing acknowledgement of, and concurrent interest in, the legal and social ramifications of utilising this data for vetting purposes, research as to the actual data collation and retention process has itself been neglected almost entirely. Indeed, such is the over-reliance on presumption, and the general inattention paid to this area, that no-one even seems to have noticed that, despite the repeated use of the phrase ‘criminal record’, no authoritative definition of it exists, or that the police appear to have an effective carte blanche as to what data they can collate, how they store it and how long they retain it.
The purpose of this research is to address the deficits in the existing literature by asking four key questions; what data have the police been collating, are they acting concurrent with their Data Protection obligations regarding the collation and storage of the data and is the police retention of this data justiciable with regard to their stated purpose(s) for retaining it? It is the perhaps the last of these questions which perhaps invites the most multi-faceted debate. The police posit that an isolated conviction for theft recorded a decade or more previously is of ‘operational value’ to them in their crime detection and prevention duties. This research intends to critically examine that proposition, holding the police to account and asking whether there are questions for the police, and those supposedly charged with ensuring police data compliance, to answer.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism
Depositing User: Leah Maughan
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2020 15:48
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2020 15:48
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/11885

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