Accessing Police Records - Freedom of Information

Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act:

The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act was enacted on January 1, 1991. The purpose of the Act is two-fold:

To provide the right of access to information under the control of the police in accordance with the principles that information should be available to the public. Exemptions from this right of access should be limited and specific and decisions on disclosure should be reviewed independently. To protect the privacy of individuals

The Act also allows individuals to make privacy complaints should they believe a member of a police service has violated their privacy rights.

Contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s office at 416-326-3333 or 1-800-387-0073 or TTY 416-325-7539 regarding the complaint procedure or visit www.ipc.on.ca.

The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act also enables individuals to correct personal information or attach a statement of disagreement to a record held by the police. Should you wish to exercise this right, either fill out the application form or send a letter indicating your request for correction.

If you would like the spelling of your name or date of birth corrected, you must submit proper government documentation to prove the error.

You may disagree with an officer’s opinion or statement within an incident report.  This information will not be corrected or deleted, however you may attach a statement of disagreement to the police occurrence report or officer’s notebook entry. Questions about this should be directed to the Freedom of Information Coordinator.

There are two different methods of obtaining a police report, and certain factors will dictate which method is most appropriate for you. In all cases, the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act guides us when releasing any information.

Police Occurrence Reports

Requests in person can only be made at the Hamilton Police Service Central Station, Records Business Centre (Monday through Friday 8:30am-6:00pm) Statutory and Civic Holidays excluded

Make application for the report(s) through our Freedom of Information Branch. All requests must be accompanied by a $5.00 fee and a signed application form, and will be responded to within thirty (30) days. We will need to confirm your identity at the time the request is submitted. You must also be a named party within the report(s) you are seeking.
All third party information (names and addresses of persons other than yourself) will be severed from the reports unless those persons give us specific permission to leave their information intact. A report will not be released if there are charges pending before the courts arising from that incident (including outstanding warrants of arrest).

Addtional fees may apply based on the number of pages released.

If your request is for personal information, it will be subject to 20 cents per page photo copying charges.  If your request is for general information or statistical information it may be subject to $30.00 per hour search time, $30.00 per hour preparation time and 20 cents per page photo copying charges.

You will be advised of these charges in the decision letter.

Reports will only be released to:

The person or company directly involved
The law firm whose client is directly involved
The insurance company whose insured is directly involved.

For access to information in the case of mischief to auto or property, stolen and recovered autos, break and enters to personal property or businesses and identity theft/fraud, you can make a request for a “synopsis” through our Records Business Centre.

Make a request for a 'synopsis'. This is simply a one or two paragraph summary of the incident on police letterhead. No third party information is released; and you must be a named party within the report(s), but not as the accused or suspect (if so, you must seek the report through the Freedom of Information Branch). Again, there cannot be any charges pending before the courts. It will be necessary for you to complete a 'Consent to Release' form, and remit a fee of $50.00 (GST included). We will need to confirm your identity at the time the request is submitted. The summary will be ready within thirty (30) days of your request, and will be mailed out to you.

If you are a law firm acting on behalf of a client or an insurance company requesting details about your insured, please enclose a signed authorization on the Hamilton Police Service Consent and Direction form.

In both instances please provide the following:

  • Detail specifically what you are requesting
  • Provide your full name, maiden name (if applicable), address, telephone number, date of birth
  • Incident Number, date of the incident, investigating officer(s) name and badge number

Failing to detail exactly what you are requesting, enclosing the correct application fee or authorization will delay your request.

Note: If you require records for a tribunal, civil litigation or family court you will need to obtain a subpoena, summons or court motion and serve the Hamilton Police Service Disclosure Clerk

 

Links:

Access correction

Disclosure of Information

For further questions, please call the Freedom of Information Branch:

Phone 905-546-4727 or 905-546-4728 (pre-recorded message)