Information disclosure Gateways with other government departments: Crime Reduction and Safety Partnership
Being part of a Crime Reduction and Safety Partnership enables certain authorities, their co-operating partners, and persons acting on their behalf to disclose information, in certain circumstances, where this will support the implementation of an effective strategy to reduce crime and disorder in the area.
A variety of bodies can be asked to join these partnerships, which in some cases might include HMRC, the Police, Social Services, Local Council and others able to play a part in reducing crime and disorder.
What does HMRC need to consider before joining a Crime Reduction and Safety Partnership?
You will first of all need to know what bodies will make up the partnership, as this will enable you to ascertain whether or not HMRC has a legal basis to get involved. It may be that we would be able to attend face to face meetings but we may not be able to share our information with all those that are present. While that will not necessarily stop us from getting involved it will put certain boundaries in place to ensure we maintain our duty of confidentiality. It is all about managing expectations from the outset as to what our position is in relation to the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 so that all parties understand the framework that we are working to.
Procedure to follow
There will need be an Crime Reduction and Safety Partnership Memorandum of Understanding drawn up to reflect how information is being shared and what the legal basis is to share that information within the partnership. This will make our position clear from an information sharing perspective.
Once HMRC is signed up to an MOU we may be able to:-
- disclose information to bodies included in the area’s Crime Reduction and Safety Partnership where a legal basis allows us to, or
- get involved in joint working operations where legally possible which allows us to disclose information in real time.
See examples of MOU templates at IDG40230.
Disclosing information to parties included in the Crime Reduction and Safety Partnership
If you are an officer in a geographical area for which HMRC has signed up to a Crime Reduction and Safety Partnership, and you wish to make a disclosure of information to a body included in the partnership, please ensure:-
- you have a legal basis to do so (for example, disclosures of information to the Police in criminal cases must be made using the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 - see IDG50100);
- you keep records of any information disclosures that you make so that there is an audit trail in line with IDG40210.
Information obtained in joint operations
If HMRC is involved in joint operations with another party as part of the Crime Reduction and Safety Partnership, the other party will have first hand access to the information and there will be no requirement for disclosure. For example, if a seizure of counterfeit goods is made when conducting a joint operation with the police, the Police will have witnessed this seizure. No disclosure of information will have been made.
Crime Reduction and Partnerships do not exist in Northern Ireland. This guidance applies equally for England, Wales and Scotland.
Further guidance and contact details
If you are unsure as to whether or not there is a legal basis that allows HMRC to disclose information to a body who is part of the partnership please refer to the contents page of this Guide to see if there is a legislative gateway that allows you to do so or contact your Data Guardian/Security Information Management Team.