Court of Appeal grants permission to appeal landmark ruling on police data sharing obligations

The Claimant, a vulnerable minor, was excluded from attending the premises of a significant number of local businesses who were members of the area’s Crime Reduction Partnership, the BCRP.

The BCRP and Sussex Police had an agreement to share information about suspected offenders pursuant to which the Sussex Police disclosed the Claimant’s vulnerability to child exploitation, her court bail conditions and other data. In turn, the BCRP shared this data with its many business members.

In M v Chief Constable of Sussex Police [2019] EWHC 975 (Admin), the Administrative Court ruled that Sussex Police had unlawfully disclosed the Claimant’s vulnerability to exploitation and that doing so put her at “greater risk”.

However, the Court rejected the claim that the Defendant’s Information Sharing Agreements contained insufficient safeguards for minors and other vulnerable groups. The Court also ruled that the disclosure of the Claimant’s court bail conditions was not contrary to her right to anonymity during criminal proceedings.

On 25 March 2020 the Rt Honourable Davies LJ granted the Claimant permission to appeal those decisions noting that this is one of the first cases to address the extent to which the police are obliged to adopt specific safeguards to protect minors and other vulnerable persons.

Rachel Etheridge of MG&Co and Eric Metcalfe of Monckton Chambers act for the Claimant.

Our briefing on the legal issues in this case can be read here.