Home Office written statement – made on 20th January 2023.
I am pleased to announce that the Government has today published its response to the public consultation on police requests for personal records or ‘third party material’. This consultation was a key component on our work to address how the criminal justice system responds to rape.
We launched this consultation to understand more about the issues surrounding police requests for personal records, how often these are unnecessary and disproportionate and how far they have a negative impact on investigation timelines.
I am grateful to all the respondents who came forward with their views and helped us to gain a clearer picture of the problems in this space. Respondents told us that victims of rape and other sexual offences are frequently subject to unnecessary and disproportionate requests for personal records, that police and CPS practice with regards to these kinds of requests are inconsistent and that victim confidence is severely impacted by having their privacy unnecessarily invaded, and by the lengthy investigations that can result from delays in requests for personal records.
The Government is therefore committing to legislation to address the issues of unnecessary and disproportionate requests for third party material when Parliamentary time allows, and to ensuring that victims feel safe to report crime in the knowledge that their private lives will not be unnecessarily invaded.
A copy of the Government response will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and it will also be published on Gov.UK.