Can the ICO investigate the police?
Greater Manchester Police data breach

Can the ICO investigate the police?

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Here’s a question that we can answer – can the ICO investigate the police? If they can, how do people get the justice that they deserve as a victim of a data breach?

The reason we’re approaching this is because a lot of people are unsure when it comes to what rights they have for complaints and issues with the police. Some people feel that there’s no one to turn to when a wrong has been committed by the very service that’s there to enforce the law.

But the police are not above the law. Although many of us can be thankful for their hard work and for putting their own lives on the line for our safety, they must still comply with the law. This includes the Data Protection Act, and the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) can get involved.

Will the ICO investigate the police?

You may be wondering: will the ICO investigate the police for a data protection matter?

The short answer is: yes.

The police – their officers, management, and all employees across the board – must still adhere to important data protection legislation. If they fail to do so, they can be investigated by the ICO in the same way that any other organisation can be. If they’re found to be in breach of the law, they can be issued with warnings and penalties in accordance with the Data Protection Act and the GDPR.

As such, victims should know that they have rights to complain about a police data breach. But what about justice?

Compensation: separate to the ICO

If the ICO investigate the police, they can issue their own financial penalties and reports. However, money from fines isn’t designed to go to the victims, and the ICO’s role isn’t designed to obtain proper damages for victims either.

That’s where we come in.

As more and more of the world has become increasingly digitalised, leaks, breaches and hacks have been on the rise. In identifying the need for people to be able to access justice for the distress and loss that can be caused by a data breach, we started taking cases on.

We have now been fighting for the rights of (specifically) data breach victims for over five years, which is a lot longer than most other firms. We’re a leading data breach compensation law firm with particular expertise in this complex area of law. We represent victims who claim for compensation for police data protection issues, and we can do so on a No Win, No Fee basis.

In many cases, the nature of the information that is misused or exposed is incredibly personal and sensitive, given it’s the police. Data breach compensation amounts can be significant because of this.

Not above the law

When the ICO investigate the police, they can make a determination as to whether any breach of the law has taken place. We can do the same but from the perspective of obtaining compensation for victims.

In a recent example, it has been reported that the ICO is looking into Staffordshire Police in relation to a complaint about obtaining mental health data from a hospital. It’s understood that the police had asked for, and received, medical data in relation to mental health matters for a number of people who had made “persistent” complaints to the force.

The ICO is said to be reviewing a complaint, and they could issue penalties if a breach of the law is found to have taken place.

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