Frequently asked questions - Privacy Act requests

What can I request?

The Privacy Act sets out your rights to request personal information. This may include information about you in the form of:

  • Reports, memos, letters, notes, advice and emails
  • Materials like tape recordings, videos, or computer records
  • Reasons for decisions made about you

Can I request for information on historic abuse?

Please use the Privacy Act Request form. On the online form, choose 'Police National Headquarters' as your District.

How do I know if you are the right agency?

The Ministry of Justice’s directory of official information is a useful guide on the function of different government agencies, including Police.

How long will it take?

We are required by law to give you our decision on your request as soon as possible and no later than 20 working days after we receive your request (unless an extension is made). If we are releasing information to you we will do so without undue delay.

If we need more time to make our decision, for example if you are requesting a lot of information, we will let you know and give you an idea of how long it will take.

What does it cost?

There is no cost for requests to Police for personal information about you.

How do I change my request?

If you would like to change your request, then contact us to make a change. If you do change your request we will let you know whether this will impact on the time it will take to respond.

Can I request information in a specific format?

You can ask for information to be provided to you in a specific format. We will do our best to provide the information in the format you requested.

What if I’m not satisfied?

You are welcome to contact us in the first instance to see if we can resolve the issue.

You can also make a complaint to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner if you have concerns regarding the decision we made on your request or if you are unhappy about the way your request was treated or processed.

These concerns can relate to the withholding of information, extending the timeframe to respond to you, delays in providing you with a decision or the information, or your request being transferred.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner can investigate and review our decision and make a recommendation to us if it is considered appropriate.


How Police will respond to a Privacy Act request

What happens if you are not the right agency?

If we do not have the information you have asked for and we think that another agency may have the information, we will transfer your request to them. We may also transfer your request if we believe the information you have asked for is more closely connected with the functions of another agency.

We will do this promptly and within 10 working days. We will let you know if we have transferred your request and who we have transferred it to.

What if you don’t understand my request?

If we don’t understand your request we will get in contact to clarify the information you have asked for.

How do you make a decision on a request?

We will locate the information you have asked for and review it carefully. We may need to consult others (for example, other agencies or people who may be affected by the release of information) in order to make our decision on your request.

When will you refuse a request or withhold information?

We will make the information you request available unless there is a reason why we are unable to do so (for example, the information isn’t held or can’t be found or doesn’t exist) or there is ‘good reason’ for withholding it.

Reasons for refusing a request or withholding information are specified in the legislation (section 27 to 29 of the Privacy Act). They apply when release would harm a protected interest such as the maintenance of the law, another person’s privacy, or commercial interests.

When we refuse your request or withhold information, we will tell you which part of the Privacy Act applies.


Related links

Ready to make your request?