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Old 14th October 2018, 01:48
Larry Larry is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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Re: Police Records of aviation related activity in WW2

It seems that it's down to luck, whether information held by governmental organisations is retained at all as there was masses of 'shelf clearing' of data done in UK from 1970s onwards. What remains as archives that is not in TNA or other sensible Museum may well be at risk if, as mentioned above, a disinterested lawyer gives an opinion. Human nature tells me that if you had to go to the Head Office of an active organisation and asked to go in to their basement and have a good dig around they'd tell you to go away, and so its easier for them to quote GDPR /DPA and not have to deal with such requests in their lifetime! The only way to hold or access data covered by GDPR (in all the countries of the EU) without consent of the data subject is with a Legitimate Interest Exemption (LIE). So you can get details if they relate to you, and possibly if you are the next of kin of a deceased person, but that's about it! Obviously if you are the government you have a LIE in recording any incident in the first place, and can keep the data for as long as you can reasonably justify, but unless there is a specific Government directive to retain data such as Births, Deaths and Marriages, it could be destroyed when 'no longer needed' so there is no certainty it would end up in the TNA. How future generations will be able to research data held only on Computer I don't know!

Individual WW1 service records are withheld from the general public and should become open this year, 100 years after WW1 so I guess WW2 records will be free in 2045. Without getting too political it's the fault of people who write GDPR legislation in the EU that there was no real thought for historians who are frustrated by laws intended to stop us getting bogus phone calls or having our data sold to West Africa or finding our bank account emptied of funds or credit cards cloned. There is such duplicity in recording, so I can go to online to TNA records and find the ORB which might give most of what I need and yet some other historical record may not be open 'because it involves a death' which I knew about anyway!
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Larry Hayward
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