COVID ASB Scheme
THE COVID ASB scheme supports police forces throughout England and Wales in enforcing covid-related social restrictions effectively and sensitively. It enables each force to quickly, efficiently and consistently apply its own local policy, or a policy agreed and shared by other forces across England and Wales.
The scheme is designed to support ‘policing by consent’ by enabling a ‘soft touch’ approach and providing robust privacy assurance and GDPR compliance. Data entered into the scheme will be used only for the purposes of the scheme itself, and will not be entered into or shared with any other database including other police databases.
The Scheme is delivered by means of the Disc secure information-sharing system developed by Littoralis Limited. Disc is by far the most widely used information-sharing system of its kind in the UK, currently deployed across more than 500 towns and city-centres, in many of the country’s largest shopping malls, and by a growing number of police forces.
How does it work?
The COVID ASB scheme enables police and partner agencies to record serious incidents of non-compliance including the offender’s name and facial image and to record that a formal warning has been issued to the offender.
The offenders’ name and facial image will be retained and shared among all users of the Scheme (police officers and other appropriate partner agencies) for a period of three months. No further action will be taken and if no further report is submitted involving the same offender in that period, his/her data will be irrevocably deleted from the Scheme.
If a further report is received within the three-month period, the police will issue a fixed penalty notice (FPN) in line with government guidelines. The offender’s data will also be retained and shared among Scheme users for a further three-month period.
The same policy applies to all further incidents involving the same offender, with each additional incident resulting in the issue of further FPNs, escalating in severity in accordance with government guidelines, and the offender’s data will be retained and shared by Scheme users for a further three-month period.
If no further incident is reported involving the same offender after the second or further incident, his/her data will be irrevocably deleted the system after the three-month period following the date of the latest incident.
The above ‘policy’ can be varied according to the preferences of each participating police force, for example, to allow for two or more warnings before the first FPN is issued, or to change the period of data retention. However, the National Police Chief’s Council and College of Policing have proposed that a single consistent approach to policing Coronavirus ASB is adopted throughout England and Wales, and the System can ensure that all participating forces work to that policy if agreed.
The above is a variant of the ‘Two Card’ exclusion policy used by many local private crime reduction schemes throughout the UK. The Two Card policy is proven to be effective both in non-coercively encouraging potential and first- time offenders not to re-offend, as well as identifying and effectively managing prolific offenders.
It is proposed that the COVID ASB scheme is disabled and all personal data therein irrevocably deleted with 24 hours of the formal lifting of COVID-related restrictions by the government.