Handling of confidential Information at law enforcement agencies


  • Kristín Guðmundsdóttir
  • Jóhanna Gunnlaugsdóttir




Confidential information, classified information, data protection, public governance, law enforcement agencies.


This article is based on the findings of a research into the procedures regarding the handling of classified and confidential information at law enforcement agencies and related institutions. The aim was to examine how this information was being dealt with at these institutions. A secondary aim was to shed light on the duties and requirements regarding how confidential information should be handled and how the information were being enforced, in addition to examining the knowledge that the employees possessed regarding the legal environment. Procedures regarding the processing of confidential information have not been studied before in a comprehensive manner from the perspective of having the operation and purpose of these institutions in mind. The research was based on a qualitative methodology, interviews to be exact. The main findings showed that the respondents honoured the legal requirements regarding confidentiality when they handled such information. They referred to declarations of confidentiality, obligations of State employees, and their responsibilities in connection with the legal requirements regarding discretion. There was a difference of opinion whether current laws and regulations regarding the handling of confidential information were sufficient or should be changed. Traditions and customs had furthermore created certain work procedures in the daily work, and proved more valid than predefined rules.

Author Biographies

Kristín Guðmundsdóttir

Specialist at the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police.

Jóhanna Gunnlaugsdóttir

Professor, University of Iceland.



How to Cite

Guðmundsdóttir, K., & Gunnlaugsdóttir, J. (2017). Handling of confidential Information at law enforcement agencies. Icelandic Review of Politics & Administration, 13(2), 239–264. https://doi.org/10.13177/irpa.a.2017.13.2.4



Peer Reviewed Articles