Guernsey Pubwatch accused of data protection breach

By John Harrington and Lesley Foottit

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Data protection Law

Pubwatch: should be run by licensees
Pubwatch: should be run by licensees
Guernsey pubs have been ordered to return police data after the island's data protection watchdog said police had too much control in the Pubwatch.

Guernsey pubs have been ordered to return pictures of banned troublemakers after the island's data protection watchdog said police had too much control in the banning process.

Police were found guilty of five breaches of data protection principles by Guernsey's Data Protection Commissioner.

The Commissioner investigated following a complaint made by one banned individual in 2008.

The ban and subsequent circulation of his police photograph to Guernsey Pubwatch constituted a breach of data protection laws, the Commissioner ruled.

The Pubwatch also lacked protocol in its decision-making processes.

A report from the Commissioner said police "had been too closely involved in the administration and operation of the scheme, rather than merely providing advice and guidance".

"The chairman's role had been limited to participating in discussions as to whether or not to enforce a ban.

"Other committee members were not officially elected and the composition of the committee would vary from meeting to meeting thus providing little or no continuity."

Action has subsequently been taken. The report said police "undertook to address all of the matters that had been identified".

"The Commissioner decided that the photographs of the individual should be returned by the licensees to the police and recommended that the constitution of Guernsey Pubwatch should be revised to strengthen the role of the Committee and reduce the role of the police to be an advisory one."

National Pubwatch chairman Stephen Baker urged caution over comparisons between Guernsey and the UK, due to the island's unique legal system.

"However, I think it is an opportune time to restate the National Pubwatch and the courts' viewpoint that police and other public authorities should not be members of, or play a part in, the running of local pubwatch schemes.

"That said, I believe that local communities will expect the police to continue to support pubwatch in a liaison capacity."

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