Area of Law: Criminal Records
Answer # 2104
Criminal records storage systemsRegion: Ontario Answer # 2104
Charging police services and the courts create criminal records according to the laws under which they are governed (different laws apply depending on their jurisdiction – municipal, provincial, federal). Each province has its own legislation, for example B.C. Police Act, Ontario Police Services Act, Nova Scotia, Police Act. They also use their own internal record management systems and guidelines. Because the municipal, provincial and federal laws are different, and because these laws do allow the various police services and courts to implement processes, and to some extent, use their own discretion in applying the law, different systems have developed over the years. Examples of record management systems used by police services throughout Canada include:
- Police Reporting and Occurrence System, used by the RCMP
- Police Records Information Management Environment (PRIME-BC), used by British Columbia police forces
- Niche Records Management System, used by the OPP and the 43 Ontario municipal police services
If a charging police service transfers a local criminal record to the RCMP, then they must do so using the RCMP’s forms and guidelines. Currently, the RCMP data banks are the only ones that every Canadian police service can access from anywhere across the country.
Similarly, all provinces have their own court case tracking systems, for example B.C. JUSTIN, and Ontario ICON and FRANK. Each court has both a paper record as well as some type of computer record of the case. The type of information stored in the court computer data base systems tends to be more limited information such as:
- ‘name and date of birth’ of the accused,
- the offence with which the person is charged,
- the alleged offence date,
- the date and outcomes of court appearances, and
- the final decision of the judge, and whether fines have been paid.
The hard copy paper records are more robust and can include all the information stored in the computer system as well as more detailed information such as details of the crime, transcripts from the trial, as well as names of co-accused, victims, and witnesses.
Once a criminal record exists, it is up to the individual to complete the proper paperwork to have the record removed.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, refer to our criminal law section.
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