If you have been issued with a Harassment Warning Notice then we can help you get it deleted.
Police Information Notices (PIN) or Early Harassment Notices as they are sometimes called, are not criminal convictions nor are the equivalent to a police caution, they are however retained by the police on local police systems. For more information on local police systems please see here: What is the Police National Database?
Although a harassment warning is not a formal criminal record, information related to them can be disclosed as “relevant information” on an enhanced DBS check.
There does not need to be sufficient evidence to charge a suspect with a harassment before the police can issue a harassment PIN, in fact the point of a harassment PIN is where the police might not be able to prove harassment. This might happen where the police can not prove that a suspect knew that their behaviour would have amounted to harassment, when there has only been one instance of harassment, so that a “course of conduct” can not be proven, or where at that stage a complainant is unwilling to support a prosecution for harassment.
Deletion of Harassment PINs
The harassment warning were also created in-order to head off incidents at their inception, so as to prevent matters from escalating. Harassment PINs have however come under criticism from both victims and suspects. Harassment warnings have been said to have been issued by the police in inappropriate circumstances where victims have not been protected, a government report found in 20017 the following:
The report recommended that “chief constables should stop the use of Police Information Notices and their equivalents immediately”. The inspection found that there was no consistent use of PINs – some forces had stopped using PINs altogether, and others had placed “significant restrictions on their use such that they should rarely be used”
Suspects have also frequently felt that harassment warnings have been issued in unfair circumstances where a purported victim has manipulated the police to their own ends. Suspects can often feel they have been unduly criminalised via the harassment PIN procedure which includes the signing of the notice, and a warning that further incidents might lead to prosecution.
Removal of Early Harassment Notice
Since the government published the report on harassment PINs the College of Policing said that they would be replacing harassment PINs with “Early Harassment Notices” and would be publishing a new guidance.
Police Information Notices, which acts as a warning rather than a formal sanction, have caused some concern and they will come to an end later this year when we issue new guidance for Early Harassment Notices. The guidance will clearly outline the limited circumstances when officers can use them.
To date however there has been no new guidance published and the Parliament website states the following:
Publication of the guidance has been delayed for some time now. The College has been working with working with charities and others on training for the police.
Can I get a Harassment PIN Delete?
When an early harassment PIN is issued, the police should inform a suspect that signing a PIN does not amount to an admission of guilt, but that it could be used in subsequent proceedings. The PIN also should be signed by a suspect. This has led many suspects to feel that the police have taken their accuser’s side against them, and that by receiving the harassment warning they have been given a formal criminal record.
Whilst a harassment PIN is not formally logged onto the Police National Computer (PNC), it can be used in subsequent proceedings. That means that the police need to make a record of the warning, and that the warning can be accessed by not only the officer who issued the harassment warning, but other police officers further down the line. This means it will be recorded on “local police systems” and possibly the Police National Database.
The Right to Erasure and Harassment PINs
The Supreme Court has ruled that where a harassment PIN has been issued the police do not have an indefinite right to retain it. Depending on the circumstances the police may only have the power to retain a PIN for several months.
Each case will be looked at on their own merits and circumstances to determine whether the notice, and related records, ought to be deleted.
The right to have a harassment PIN deleted is tied in with the right to erasure under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Article 17 of the GDPR provides that individuals have the right to have personal data erased. This is also sometimes known as the ‘right to be forgotten’.
The right to be forgotten does not mean that the police must delete all records about you in all circumstances, but they must delete your personal data if it is no longer necessary for a “policing purpose”. In the context of Police Information Notices, this will mean that the PIN would no longer serve a practical purpose, for example where you can show that sufficient time has passed, or circumstances have changed such that there would be no possibility of establishing that there is a course of conduct amounting to harassment.
Police Record Deletion Solicitor
If you have received a harassment PIN, or have any other police records that you would like deleted, then please get in touch.
We have extensive experience in applying for the deletion of police records, including locally held police records under the right to erasure, or deletion of nationally held records on the PNC.
We also have extensive experience in appealing the disclosure of information on standard and enhanced DBS checks, and also challenging DBS barring decisions.
In most cases we can charged fixed fees, please get in contact to arrange an initial consultation.