The police maintain every criminal’s record in their specially categorized police records, to ensure that every citizen’s previous record is well documented. This is an act to help prevent criminals from committing crimes in the future. Also, it helps serve as evidence, or basis for a court case against an innocent or guilty person. Therefore, in essence, such records are of paramount importance, both to the state as well as the individual.
There often arise situations when one wants to access his or her police records. The state helps such individuals retrieve copies of their records quite easily, because essentially this is the right that every citizen has, and it is important that one is aware of this fact.
To begin with, you can contact your local police if you want to obtain a copy of your records. You should educate yourselves as well as others about the Data Protection Act which entitles every citizen the right to ask his or her area’s police authorities for their respective police records. People generally use a specific term to refer to this kind of a request called a ‘subject access request’.
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Once you have placed a request of this nature, the local police should help you with the procedure to formally apply. In fact, sometimes, when a person moves from one country to another, he or she may actually have to show their previous criminal records to the police authorities in this new area.
The records however may not be available to you free of charge. However, the fee is generally a very small amount and that is not something you need to be concerned about.
There are a few documents you may have to provide your local police authorities with, depending on the area you live in:
You must always keep in mind that the police do not release information unless you fulfill all the legal requirements, and in some cases, they may not let you extract any information at all. Also, the records or details that you are given may be edited to protect the identities and information pertinent to other citizens whose rights the police have to protect.