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The Criminal Procedure and Investigations Code of Practice applies in respect of criminal investigations conducted by police. A criminal investigation can be defined an investigation conducted by police officers with a view to it being ascertained whether a person should be charged with an offence, or whether a person charged with an offence is guilty of it.
This document sets out the manner in which police officers are to record, retain and reveal to the prosecutor material obtained in a criminal investigation.
The roles and responsibilities within a criminal investigation can vary. The functions of the investigator, the officer in charge of an investigation and the disclosure officer are separate. The amount of persons attached to this case to fulfil the above roles will depend on the complexity of the case and the administrative arrangements within each police force. Commonly, where there are more than one person undertaking the roles, close consultation between them is essential to the effective performance of the duties imposed by this code.
Persons other than police officers who are charged with the duty of conducting an investigation as defined in the Act are to have regard to the relevant provisions of the code, and should take these into account in applying their own operating procedures.
On the 25th May 2018 the Data Protection Act 2018 was implemented by the UK as the General Data Protection Regulation also known as GDPR. It controls how personal information is captured and used by organisations and the government.
Everyone responsible for using personal data has to follow strict rules called ‘data protection principles’ and must ensure that the information they obtain is for a lawful purpose, used fairly and must be transparent about its intended purpose of usage and used explicitly for that purpose only.
Data should also not be kept for more than is necessary, and whilst it is kept, should be kept up to date and handled and secured in a way that does not compromise its protection from unauthorised processing, loss of theft of data.
It is important to note that there is stronger legal protection for more sensitive information such as race, health, sex life, orientation, ethnic background. There are separate safeguards for personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences.
Under the Data Protection Act 2018, an individual has the right to find out what information the government and other organisations holds about them and this ideally should be provided to the individual within 1 month.
To make a complaint about the misuse of personal information or lack of security it should be made to the organisation, following their response the complaint can also be made to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
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