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Disclosing Student Personal Information to the Queensland Police Service

Disclosing Student Personal Information to the Queensland Police Service

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Disclosing Student Personal Information to the Queensland Police Service

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  1. Disclosing Student Personal Information to theQueensland Police Service 1-2 July 2008 RED/EDS Business Meeting

  2. Disclosing Student Personal Information to the QPS Policy • outlines the protocols for disclosing student personal information to the QPS under s426 of the EGPA 2006 and s20 of the Regulation • is additional to the provisions for disclosing student information to police as provided in: • SMS-PR-108 Information Sharing under the Child Protection Act 1999 • GVR-OR-001Police interviews or Police or Staff Searches at State Educational Institutions

  3. Section 426 of the EGPA Under s.426 of the Act, DETA employees who gain or have access to personal information about a student, must not make a record, use, or disclose this information, unless one of the exceptions set out in s.426(3) of the Act applies. 3

  4. s.426(3) exceptions Exceptions to s426 of the EGPA 2006 are: • for a purpose of the Act • with the consent of the person to whom the information relates (or the parent of a child who is unable to consent) • in compliance with lawful process e.g. search warrant or a subpoena • as permitted or required by another Act e.g. Child Protection Act 1999 • with the written consent of the Director-General or delegate who may give consent if reasonably satisfied that the disclosure is: • necessary to assist in averting a serious risk to life, health or safety of a person • in the public interest.

  5. Summary of changes • The Director-General has delegated her power to disclose information pursuant to s426(3)(e) as follows: • Disclosure in the public interest: RED/EDS; • Disclosure to a SBPO in the public interest, about offence at school or in relation to school property: principal of school with SBPO; • Disclosure to avert serious risk to life, health or safety: DDG, ADG-EQ, ADG-SS, RED/EDS, PAES and principals. • Delegates of the Director-General cannot sub-delegate their powers to another officer.

  6. Summary of changes Request for release of student information by a SBPO regarding a criminal offence on, or in relation to, school premises or property at the school at which they are based: • Written request is made using QPS-3 • Principals decide if written request is appropriate and in the public interest • If yes, principal consents to release student information to SBPO and documents same • Information may only be released to the SBPO, not another officer. 6

  7. Request for release of student information by QPS regarding an incident off the school grounds: Summary of changes • Written request is made using QPS-1 or QPS-2 • Principal decides if request relates to averting a serious risk to life, health or safety. • If YES, Principal consents to release student information to QPS, and documents same. • If NO, decision is made by Principal’s supervisor – EDS or RED giving consideration as to whether release of information is in the public interest. 7

  8. Guidelines for assessment of the ‘public interest’ • Public interest considerations are weighed up in light of students’ rights to have their personal information kept confidential, keeping in mind s426 of the EGPA • Public interest may be common to the public at large or a section of the public • Consideration may be given to: • Assisting the administration of justice • Enforcement of criminal law • Freedom from arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy • Freedom of the media • Protection of children • Open and accountable government; and • Cooperation between government entities to reduce delays and costs to the taxpayer.

  9. Guidelines for assessment of the ‘public interest’ • Person requesting information must provide detailed explanation justifying their request so that decision maker can consider competing interests.

  10. Determining serious risk to life, health or safety of a person • This applies to emergency situations. • Risk must be significant and assist in averting the risk of bodily injury, illness, death or threat to a person’s safety. • Threat does not have to apply to an identifiable person – could be a threat to the public in general. • Authority to release information has been delegated to DDG, ADG-EQ, ADG-SS, RED/EDS, PAES and principals. • Refer to QPS-1

  11. When can principals disclose personal student information to QPS? Examples: • With student and/or parental consent • When a court issued warrant is served • In relation to student absence that is unexplained • Where the information is necessary to assist in averting serious risk to life, health or safety of a person – refer to Form QPS-1 • Where a SBPO based at the school requests information relating to an incident/offence that occurs on school grounds or against school property AND the disclosure is in the public interest

  12. When must principals refer QPS requests for student information to their supervisor? • A QPS officer not based at the school (i.e. a school without a SBPO) requests student information, irrespective of whether the incident/offence occurs on school grounds or against school property. • When a SBPO requests information about students at the school at which he/she is based in relation to an incident that did not occur on school grounds or against school property.

  13. EDS/RED responsibilities (Principal’s supervisor) • Receives written request from QPS via the principal using the appropriate form (QPS-1 or QPS-2) • Gives written consent for the release of personal student information to QPS only if satisfied that the release is: • necessary to assist in averting a serious risk to the life, health or safety of a person; or • in the public interest • Forwards a copy of the signed form to the principal to enable the release of personal student information in a timely manner • Files the form and a copy of the information provided in a secure location.

  14. Related forms • QPS-1: Request to Release Student Information to Police • To assist in averting a serious risk to life, health or safety • QPS-2: Request to Release Student Information to Police • Where a criminal offence is committed on, or in relation to, school premises or school property AND there is no SBPO; or any other disclosure where it is in the public interest • QPS-3: Request to Release Student Information to SBPO • Regarding a criminal offence on, or in relation to, school premises or school property, where there is a SBPO

  15. Consent • A person must clearly understand what they are consenting to and what possible consequences could follow. • It must be voluntary. • It must be specific to a particular disclosure. • Consent should preferably be in writing. • Generally, consent must come from the person to whom the information relates – consider student’s capacity to provide consent.

  16. Relevant student information • It is important to provide only information that is relevant to the alleged offence. • Could include: • written records • photograph or image of a person • information or an opinion about a person that is not written down.

  17. Some secondary school students are involved in a fight inside the school grounds whilst on their way to the buses after school. Two students sustain minor injuries which would fall within the Departmental definition of a ‘Minor Student Incident’ (an incident which was managed by the school, for example by administering first aid, but did not necessitate contact with the parent/caregivers/emergency contact). The parent/s of one of these students makes a complaint to the police who telephone the school and ask for the school’s account of what happened. The police also ask for the names and contact details of those involved in the fight plus any known witnesses. Scenario for discussion

  18. Scenario for discussion Late one Saturday night, a 17-year-old male student is assaulted outside an all ages social function (not held on school premises). He is now in intensive care with serious head injuries. Investigating police come to the school on Monday and ask to speak with the principal. The police show the principal some images of the incident taken by security cameras. The police ask if several young people whose images appear in the security photos attend the school, and if contact details can be provided for the students concerned. The police do not have a warrant allowing them to search the school for the information. 18