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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Cumbria students’ details passed to police

THE University of Cumbria has passed on the personal details of more than 20 students to police over the last three academic years, new figures reveal.

The latest available information shows that the university disclosed details of 25 of its students to officers carrying out formal investigations between 2010 and 2013.

Four related to investigations relating to theft or damage, eight were for sexual or violent crimes and 10 were where a student was a potential witness or victim of crime.

Three did not have sufficient details to be categorised, according to a Freedom of Information request.

Police must make all requests formally in writing, using designated and recognised forms.

They do not have to state the type of offence or whether the student involved is a suspect, yet university staff have been able to establish the nature of most of the investigations.

All students who join the University of Cumbria are given details explaining that there are some circumstances in which their details can be passed on to third parties.

The university’s decision whether to disclose any information following a request can only be authorised by senior staff.

A statement from the University of Cumbria said: “The Data Protection Act includes an exemption which allows the university to disclose information to the police where this is necessary for the ‘prevention or detection of crime’ or ‘apprehension or prosecution of offenders’.

“The police must make the request in writing and are always asked to use their own form to request information about students.

“This form requires the police to explain in general terms why they need the information and to confirm that the data protection exemption applies.

“Any disclosures of information by the university to the police are always authorised by a senior member of staff. The university’s procedures are based on good practice guidance published by the Information Commissioner’s Office.”

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