Confident and effective information exchange is the key to multi-agency crime reduction work. When conducted appropriately it reveals a more accurate picture of what is going on and enables more effective interventions and outcomes.
1. The Data Protection Act (2018), Human Rights Act (1998) and the Common Law Duty of Confidence are not barriers to sharing information but provide a framework to ensure that personal information about living persons are shared appropriately.
2. It is appropriate for agencies to share where the disclosure is necessary for the:
- Prevention or detection of crime disorder and anti social behaviour
- Protection of public safety
- Protection of the rights and freedoms of others
- Protection of young or other vulnerable people
3. Agencies should share with consent of the individual where appropriate and, where possible respect the wishes of those who do not consent for them to share their confidential information. Information can still be shared without consent if the lack of consent can be overridden in the public interest, for example:
- Safeguarding children
- Protecting other vulnerable people
- Preventing the commission of criminal offences
- Bringing offenders to justice.
4. Agencies should consider safety and well-being: information sharing decisions should be based on considerations of the safety and well-being of the person and others (immediate family, wider community, national security) who may be affected.
5. Necessary, proportionate, relevant, accurate, timely and secure: agencies must ensure that the information is necessary for the purpose for which it is being shared, is shared only with those people who need to have it, is accurate and up to date, is shared in a timely fashion, and is shared securely. Agencies should not share everything, and must always ensure that they know what specific information is required and why.
6. Agencies must keep a record of their decision and the reasons for it – whether it is to share information or not.