A SECURITY company won't hand over CCTV tapes to police because of 'data protection', according to a man whose son's bike was stolen on camera.

Vincent Ellis said officers investigating the theft of the bicycle from outside the Sainsbury's store in Didcot's Orchard Centre have been left hamstrung after being forced to wait to obtain footage from the time.

The 17-year-old's bike was snatched at around 10.15pm on Wednesday, May 8 and was reported to police later that night at 10.40pm.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Ellis is convinced the crime was captured by one of the centre's many security cameras and said there is 'no chance' of catching the thief without seeing it.

He said: "The police have been great regarding this, as it is a low priority crime.

"However when the officer asked Elite Security Group, who run the cameras at the Orchard Centre, for the CCTV from the time, they refused.

"They told the officer that they won't release any CCTV under the data protection act and the officer had to hand write a letter to the head office to request it.

"It is hard enough to catch offenders for bike crime, and now the police wont be able to view any CCTV for weeks so the probability of catching the offender is zero per cent."

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Mr Ellis said he feared that if the same policy was applied to more serious crimes, including rape and murder, then major investigations may be subject to lengthy delays, allowing criminals to go undetected.

He said he found it hard to believe what he was hearing so spoke directly with the officer involved who told him his 'hands were tied.'

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GDPR legislation, and what it means for people's privacy, has lead to widespread confusion since it was introduced last year.

Official guidance states that investigating officers need to complete a 'Subject Access Request Form' before footage is released, but this could take 28 days.

A spokeswoman for shopping centre owners Hammerson said: "We work closely with the police to ensure the safety and security of our customers, which is always our priority.

"All requests for CCTV footage are processed in line with GDPR, which require that investigating officers submit a formal application."

Elite Security Group did not respond to requests for comment.

Thames Valley Police’s media officer said the case was a matter for the security company.