Investigation concludes Police are taking 'excessive personal data' from mobile phones

In response to the publication of the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham’s ‘Mobile phone data extraction by police forces in England and Wales report’ Dame Vera Baird QC, Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, said:

“Police and CPS launched their ‘digital processing notices’ apparently without consulting anyone.

“Violence Against Women and Girls charities, and Police and Crime Commissioners warned the forms could pressurise rape complainants into consenting to potentially unlawful full phone downloads as a result of police advising that a case might not proceed if they didn’t. The ICO has now confirmed that stance and said these forms should be withdrawn and replaced.

“In the 15 months since the notices were introduced, charities have reported hundreds of rape complainants who have been forced to hand over personal data in fear of otherwise being denied justice.

“Hundreds more will have shrunk from the intrusion demanded into their privacy, and that of their families, and as a result there have been instances where otherwise ‘strong’ cases have been dropped.

“Complainants can end up feeling that they are having to submit to being investigated themselves before they can be considered to qualify for the chance of a prosecution.

Six months ago, HMCPSI criticised intrusive demands for Rape complainants’ mobile phones and medical records. This kind of digital interrogation of the victim does not happen in any other kind of case.

“From 58,000 rape complaints to police last year there were just 1,758 CPS charges, the worst charging levels since records began and a massive drop from 6,611 cases charged only two years before.

“This report must be the line in the sand. This situation has to change.”