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Bob is ejected from a private business as the police are called because the security guard felt his dietary proclivities were socially unacceptable in public. The police arrived and Bob was already out of the store but they claimed even after hearing his side of the story that he must give his personal address and details under s50 police reform act due to their having been allegations of anti social behaviour committed. If he didn’t comply with their demand, they said, then he would be arrested.

Several problems with this: at first they requested Bob’s details for the purpose of rendering a trespass/barring notice to him. When he declined on the basis that no offences had been committed, they replied by changing their request to a demand on threat of arrest, for which the ground was the then-invoked s50 police reform act, and the fact that there had been at least allegations of anti social behaviour.

First, it was evident that they had not been planning to treat the situation as one of dealing with a case of ASB. They simply wanted to relay the private business’s desire to ban Bob from future visits to their premises, which was evidently the motive for their request for bob’s personal details, and in Itself I think I grounds for a compulsory demand for the same.

The second issue is that they then turned around and disclosed Bob’s details including name and DoB to the private business who in itself has no right to compel such disclosure of personal data.

In my experience, an uncharged criminal suspect’s details have never been disclosed to me by police even when they are aware of them, when I have been a complainant/victim. Why does a business’s private security become entitled to a private individual’s personal details disclosed under compulsion and force of law?

The officers explained to Bob that it is permissible to disclose for the purpose of prevention and detection of crime. (Which trespassing in itself is not).

Was this officer talking nonsense?

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    I'm finding it hard to parse the question because of the ambiguous use of "they". At multiple points it is unclear whether it refers to the police or the store. Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 12:13
  • Every single instance of the word they refers to the police. Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 12:17
  • The police requested his details to bar him from a private business? Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 12:57
  • That is correct. Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 13:04
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    Much as I hate defending police, that wasn't something "police do". It was something an officer did and other officers assisted with. Police have no incentive to control which businesses certain individuals patronise. Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 13:13

2 Answers 2

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The relevant part of the act is:

If a constable in uniform has reason to believe that a person has engaged, or is engaging, in anti-social behaviour, he may require that person to give his name and address to the constable.

It certainly seems reasonable for an officer in this situation to assume this is the case.

Sharing the information in this scenario seems a little more sketchy. The officer was correct that the police can disclose this info for prevention and detection of crime. However, there appears to be no reason that this is the case here.

Bob's information is not necessary to bar him. This can be done without any details besides a physical description for security staff (which the business already has from witnessing and CCTV). Name and address are pointless here. If the business doesn't take that information on entry then it is useless to know; if they do then they know anyway.

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Complain to the ico

Police are subject to the GDPR just like everybody else. While the collection of the personal information seems legal, the disclosure to a third party is questionable.

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