Lincolnshire Police has issued a statement to clarify its position on sharing information with the RSPCA.
The authority has spoken out following an article by the Daily Telegraph which claimed it was one of 10 police forces in the UK sharing details such as people’s medical histories.
Chief Insp Specialist Operations, Stewart Brinn, said: “There has recently been an article published in the Daily Telegraph which insinuates that police forces routinely share large amounts of information about individuals with the RSPCA.
“In fact, police forces enter into individual information sharing agreements (ISA) with various bodies and as such these are often different across the country.
“The ISA between Lincolnshire Police and the RSPCA dates back to 2009 and contrary to the example shown in the Telegraph DOES NOT allow for any sharing of information relating to names, addresses, firearms information or any other data which may be held other than conviction, caution or incident history relating to animal welfare concerns.
“The purpose as described purely allows for the RSPCA to present any previous convictions or history regarding animal welfare to a court should they bring a prosecution against a specific individual. We would not share information outside this agreement.”
In the article, the paper claimed that the RSPCA could access ‘an unprecedented level of detail about people including their medical histories, parents’ details and home addresses going back years under a series of deals agreed with a quarter of police forces’.
In the statement, the authority said the relevant information it would share is as follows:
• Evidence relating to a conviction that is relevant to animal welfare accepted by an accused for an arrestable offence providing that the conviction is not considered spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
• Evidence relating to a conditional caution that is relevant to animal welfare accepted by an accused for an arrestable offence, where the date of the conditional caution is less than three months from the disclosure date, providing that the caution is relevant to the request and the disclosure of information can be justified on the grounds that it falls within a policing purpose
• Details of any incident/offences and/or assaults relevant to animal welfare, providing that the incident/offences and/or assaults do not relate to a conviction or caution that is considered spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
Chief Insp Brinn added: “All information requests from any agency are submitted via a formal process and are fully vetted by our Information Management Unit prior to disclosure to ensure that they are proportionate, lawful and are strictly for a policing purpose.”
Copies of all the Information Sharing Agreements currently in place in Lincolnshire Police are available for public access via www.lincs.police.uk/Library/Information-Sharing-Agreements/