Subject Access Requests

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus,  we have a smaller than usual team monitoring and responding to Subject Access Requests.

Whilst we will endeavour, as always, to respond to requests as quickly as possible, there will be significant change in the service we are able to provide over the coming weeks and compliance with statutory deadlines is likely to be affected.  

Your patience at this time would therefore be greatly appreciated.

Further information regarding the ICO approach to the COVID-19 virus and the impact on organisations is available on their website.

Article 15 of the General Data Protection Regulation and section 45 of the Data Protection Act 2018 provide a right of access to the information Police Scotland holds about you. There is no charge for subject access requests.

A subject access request must include as a minimum:

  • your full name
  • your date of birth
  • your address
  • scans/ photos/ photocopies of two official documents which between them confirm your date of birth and your current address
  • a clear description of the specific information sought (see Tips for applicants below)

An application form containing further guidance can be downloaded below.

Requests can be submitted to or to:

Information Management
Police Scotland
Queen Street
AB10 1ZA

Provided we have sufficient information to locate the information sought and the Chief Constable is satisfied as to your identity, we have one month to reply to your request.

If you need any further advice or guidance, please call 101 and ask to speak to the Information Management team in your local area.

The Information Commissioner can also advise further in relation to your rights.

Before making a request, please note that if you need a copy of your criminal record for the purpose of travelling abroad and/ or for visa purposes you should contact the relevant Embassy or Consulate to confirm which certificates are acceptable for the particular visa application. The ACRO Criminal Records Office provides police certificates for the specific purpose of emigrating to Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Cayman Islands, New Zealand, South Africa or the USA.

It is a criminal offence for someone to require you to make a subject access request - for example for your conviction history - in connection with:

  • your recruitment or continued employment;
  • any contract with you for the provision of services, e.g. as a self-employed person; or
  • you being provided with goods, facilities or services, e.g. by an insurance provider.

Disclosure Scotland can advise in relation to employment related disclosures and they can also provide you with a Basic Disclosure (your unspent conviction history).

Tips for applicants

Around half of all subject access requests submitted to Police Scotland are from individuals seeking a copy of their ‘criminal record’.

To request your criminal record (or for confirmation that nothing is held regarding you on these systems) you should tick the Scottish Criminal History System (CHS) and/ or Police National Computer (PNC) check boxes on the application form or state in your email that you would like a CHS/ PNC check.

For all other requests it is essential that you provide as much information as possible to allow us to locate any information held - we are simply unable to research vague requests such as ‘anything Police Scotland holds’.

Police Scotland covers a vast geographic area and whilst there are of course some high level national systems, each part of the country also operates a substantial amount of disparate systems/ databases etc.

You may be interested in a list of incidents you have reported to the police over a certain period of time or crimes where you were the victim or accused. You may have been detained in Police custody at some point and would like details of that. All of this information is held in different systems, each of which have to be individually researched. The more specific you can be, the better chance we have of locating the information of relevance.

You should specify exactly what personal data you wish to be provided with, describing the type of interaction you have had with Police Scotland and the geographic area where that interaction took place.

You should also provide specific dates where you can or at least a period which you wish your request to cover - for example the last year.

You should note that the right of subject access is subject to exemption and that your request, or part of it may have to be refused.

For example, where criminal proceedings or a complaint against the police (or PIRC investigation) are ongoing, exemptions prevent us from disclosing information that may prejudice those proceedings. We also have to ensure that the rights of any third parties are protected.

Related Documents

PDF files on this page require a PDF reader, such as the free Adobe Acrobat Reader (download).

If you would like this information in an alternative format or language - please phone us on 101 to discuss your needs.