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How safe are our archives

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How safe are our archives

Postby junkers » Sat Jan 18, 2020 2:23 am

This report is worrying on how the Surrey Police have removed files from the Surrey History Centre on the Guildford Bombing in 1974 (perhaps they should not have been accessioned there in the first place) and which follows a similar removal of 700 files at The National Archives makes you wonder what is going on, the police do of course have a job to do. Of course papers should be used for any inquiry but the fear is that some records, as in the case of Northern Ireland, will be destroyed. Surrey History Centre would have had no choice but to hand them over.

This is not the first such case (Jack The Ripper and the Hunger March files are missing many papers from TNA), the Hunger Marches files disappeared from TNA many years ago and apparently 'just walked out' of the Chancery Lane building and ended up in a Labour museum in East London some time later. Recently a similar and large set of records on atomic energy were removed from TNA. Not that long ago a Treasury file on the financing of the Royal Train was sent back from TNA to Treasury for re-review and in a matter of weeks they had lost track of it and said they had returned it but TNA have no trace of it. Hundreds of files disappear from TNA, the figures are about 700 files, some may have been mis-filed. Perhaps the archive bodies need to approach Government about removal of such documents and perhaps only with a warrant or change the legislation. I wasn't aware that GDPR could be used to remove records.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-51142609
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Re: How safe are our archives

Postby Guy » Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:38 am

The files should have been retained in the National Archives, etc. and the police given photocopies of the files. By seizing the files they have exceeded their authority.
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As we have gained from the past, we owe the future a debt, which we pay by sharing today.
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Re: How safe are our archives

Postby sharpractice » Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:46 pm

If a request to the Police as to why they have removed the files and under what powers they have done so does not give you a satisfactory answer, this is the sort of public interest issue that would be worth raising with a reporter on a national newspaper and your local Member of Parliament.
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Re: How safe are our archives

Postby junkers » Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:31 pm

Thanks. I have asked the Information Commissioner's Office for a response.
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