FAQs for Avon and Somerset Criminal Data Linkage

What are the aims of the research project?

Our research aims to help understand factors associated with contact with the criminal justice system and its impact on social and health-related outcomes, with the following specific aims that will use both Children of the 90s and linked data in order to:

  • Inform Avon and Somerset Constabulary policy and wider Local Authority policy in the Avon area
  • Provide insight for national policymaking

Where will data be linked from the Children of the 90s?

For those participants who have given permission to participate in data linkage, we will link to the Avon and Somerset Constabulary data on conviction, caution and recorded criminal behaviour.

What is the process for linking data and what information will be used?

Avon and Somerset Constabulary will provide Children of the 90s with the individual data but will not know the identity of any Children of the 90s participant or be able to access individual data about the study or participants. Children of the 90s will not share any personal information such as name, address or date of birth with Avon and Somerset Constabulary. The following process will be carried out to link CO90s data to the data sources described above:

1. Matching ID

In order to link your Children of the 90s data to criminal records, Avon and Somerset Constabulary will share with the University of Bristol the name, date of birth, sex and full current and historical address(es) of all individuals on their database born between 1st January 1991 and the 31st January 1993 using encrypted data that will be stored on a secure sever at the University of Bristol. Data managers at Children of the 90s will match identification to those in Children of the 90s and then delete all personal identifiers.

2. Linking IDs to crime data

For individuals that are identified as Children of the 90s participants (excluding those who have opted out of data linkage), a matching ID will be created and passed onto Avon and Somerset Constabulary. Using this matching ID, Avon and Somerset Constabulary will link criminal data to those who are Children of the 90s participants. This dataset does not use included IDs from step 1, so will not be identifiable. Avon and Somerset Constabulary will not hold a copy of the matching ID or integrate any information relating to Children of the 90s into their database.

3. Combining Children of the 90s data and crime data

Criminal data from Avon and Somerset Constabulary will then be combined with data from Children of the 90s that is required for the research (not all data collected by Children of the 90s will be included in the dataset). Avon and Somerset Constabulary will also send data on individuals (that is not identifiable to researchers) that are not Children of the 90s participants to allow researchers to compare local crime rates for people who are in or out of Children of the 90s. As with all our studies, researchers only see 'de-identified data' (with all personal information removed) and all research we do is governed by the Data Protection Act (2018).

Where are my linked records stored?

The University of Bristol will download and store the data onto the Children of the 90s’ Data Linkage team’s secure ‘encapsulated virtual machine’ (eVM) which is a purpose-built secure research server at the University of Bristol. The Children of the 90’s data linkage team and their eVM are certified as meeting the ISO 27001 Information Security standard, the ‘gold standard’ for information security. Within the Children of the 90s data linkage team eVM there are separate working areas for Children of the 90s data linkage team Data Managers and for research users. Research users are only able to access the minimum de-identified data needed for their project.

Who will be using my data?

Your data will only be shared with researchers for research that has been approved by Children of the 90s. As with all research using your Children of the 90s data, linked data is processed using a unique ID number (like the barcode ID on your questionnaires). All your personal details (such as your name) will be removed, and researchers will not be able to link your data back to you.

What if I change my mind about taking part in data linkage or any other aspect of Children of the 90s?

Taking part in the study is voluntary, you are free to do as much or as little as you like. If you change your mind about taking part in some or all of Children of the 90s then let us know via email to info@childrenofthe90s.ac.uk



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