HC Deb 25 July 2000 vol 354 cc515-6W
Mr. Cohen

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what powers are available to him to allow the police on-line access, via the Police National Computer, to databases held by private sector insurance companies; and what plans he has to introduce legislation on this issue. [129139]

Mr. Hill

I have been asked to reply.

Provisions in Regulations made under the Road Traffic Act 1988 require insurers to keep records of their policyholders and the policies they have issued. Information from those records must be provided without charge on request to the police. Legal advice is that these powers are sufficient to allow the information to be collected on a database and to allow the police access, subject to safeguards, on a case-by-case basis. The insurance industry are setting up an electronic database in order to help the police enforcement effort.

I have accepted, however, the Data Protection Commissioner's advice that Parliament should have the opportunity to consider the matter and we will be laying an Order later this year to allow the keeping of information electronically and to provide access to the insurance information for the police on a case-by case-basis. Safeguards to prevent misuse of the information, agreed with the Data Protection Commissioner, will be included.

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