Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA)


A PIA is a process which enables organisations to identify and address the likely privacy impact of new initiatives and projects. It covers privacy issues on a wider scale than data protection and information security considerations which are still undertaken.

If Devon and Cornwall Police are introducing a new process/initiative or IT system or is making significant changes to a process/IT system, that has implications for the use of personal information, a PIA is considered.

The privacy issues covered by a PIA are;

  • privacy of personal information (Data Protection Act 1998);
  • privacy of the person (e.g. body searches, body scanning);
  • privacy of personal behaviour (observations of what individuals do);
  • privacy of personal communication.

Guidance from the Association of Chief Police Officers states that a PIA cannot be undertaken retrospectively once an IT system or process is already in place.

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