It has recently been confirmed that a former Hampshire police officer has been reportedly banned from ever entering the police service again after it was found that he accessed private records without a valid policing reason. The Special Constable in question is understood to have resigned from his position before superiors could dismiss him for his data snooping.
While police officers are granted information access to records and details that are needed for casework, they are not authorised to view or use information outside of their policing workload without any good reason. Campbell violated his professional duty by accessing information without a legitimate reason, reportedly only browsing the records due to “curiosity”.
Regardless of the motives of the Hampshire police officer, there is no excuse for breaching data protection law. We trust the police service to maintain strict control over personal information, so it is important that any officers who breach the duty they owe to the public are held accountable for their actions.
Despite looking up private police records without authorisation, a Detective Sergeant has recently evaded dismissal following a misconduct hearing. In the Northamptonshire detective data breach case, the Detective Sergeant reportedly looked up the details of a woman with whom he was engaging in an extra-marital relationship with at the time, who was involved in a case he was working on.
His actions reportedly amounted to misconduct, so the Northamptonshire Police appear to be sending mixed messages by not taking the matter any further. The police can, and often do, dismiss officers for similar offences, but this officer’s acceptance of the accusations against him, and his standing in the force, seem to have allowed him to avoid further consequences.
Police data breaches like this should be treated with the severity that they merit, taking account of the potential damage such actions can cause. Police services cannot afford to let employees off lightly for breaching data access regulations, as doing so could risk compromising the force’s reputation and its overall data security and integrity.
Around two years ago, the Police Federation of England and Wales was hit by a cyberattack, and we began taking claims forward soon after the data breach incident occurred. Although it was initially believed that no personal information affected, it was nevertheless a possibility that employee data may have been exposed to unauthorised access.
The case against the Police Federation is one of many data breach group actions we are pursuing. As leading specialists in data breach claims, we are fighting for justice in a number of high-profile actions, including those against Equifax, Virgin Media and British Airways.
As with all our data breach group actions, we are offering No Win, No Fee representation to eligible victims of the Police Federation data breach. You can contact us today if you are considering starting a claim.
Recent coverage has revealed that action taken by bank employees and police prevented some £45m of fraud in 2020, saving customers from the loss of an average of almost £6,000 each. The figure is a testament to the success of the Banking Protocol scheme that encourages banks and the police to work together to protect consumers.
However, the huge £45m sum is also a sign of the scale of fraud in the UK. As leading, specialists in data protection law, we believe that the link between data breaches and fraud is a problem that needs to be addressed. When a third-party organisation fails to protect your personal information, it may be leaked into the hands of cybercriminals, who may attempt to steal from you via various kinds of manipulative scams.
We believe that it is essential that all data controllers are held to account when they fail to observe their legal duties. We have helped thousands of consumers to recover the compensation that they deserve, so we encourage any data breach victims to come forward for free, no-obligation advice on their potential claims.
A recent data handling error has left thousands of arrest records lost, after they were accidentally deleted from the Police National Computer (PNC).
The mistake represents an extremely severe blow to police operations, which could pose a threat to public safety. While initial statements set the number of lost records at 150,000, it has since been reported that as many as 400,000 crime records could be affected.
As one of our major national institutions, it is worrying to see that the police force has been hit by data loss of this scale. There is no room for such errors in an organisation responsible for protecting so much important information, which is one of its key weapons in detecting and arresting suspects.
A constable at Derbyshire Police has recently faced a misconduct hearing over allegations of unlawfully accessing records of a police incident and then sharing a photo of the file with colleagues.
Although the officer’s actions contravened policing standards and data protection law, he has escaped dismissal and will be allowed to continue serving at Derbyshire Police.
Regardless of the verdict of the hearing, a breach such as this should never have occurred at all. Testaments to the officer’s reportedly “excellent” work as an officer do not erase his culpability for what has been regarded as an incredibly reckless action. As an organisation with access to extensive personal data, the police service has a vital duty to be rigorous in data protection and we should all feel safe that our information with them is secure. Our trust in the police should never be abused.
The Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter, has recently spoken of his concerns regarding the technology used by local councils and the police to monitor public movements.
As the government watchdog designed to ensure government compliance with the surveillance camera code of practice, it is worrying that the commissioner believes the restrictions on local authorities may not be sufficient.
In particular, Mr Porter reportedly warned that the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras is unregulated by central government, likening their usage to MI5 tracking. In fact, the security services are subject to much tighter restrictions, while the level of surveillance led by councils and the police appears to be going under the radar.
At Your Lawyers – The Data Leak Lawyers – we always advocate for personal privacy, so it is worrying that the government may be unnecessarily storing data and information pertaining to members of the public.
A member of staff at the West Mercia Police has reportedly resigned after breaching the force’s data protection regulations.
Although the staff member in question had elected to leave her position before her misconduct hearing was held, it appears that she would have had no choice but to go in any event, as the investigation concluded that the offence necessitated dismissal.
The incident is understood to have involved the employee sharing information inappropriately with a member of the public. This was done so without authorisation and without a necessary policing reason for releasing such data.
Taking advantage of the police database for personal use can amount to an extreme breach of privacy and an abuse of power by the individual accessing the information.
Accessing the police database for personal use means that the person who is accessing personal and sensitive data does not have the authority or right to do so, and it may not relate to any past or active cases of the individual.
In many cases, the data breach victim is known to the employee and it is a case of data snooping. Data breaches of this nature can be severe and may involve someone the police officer has a negative relationship with, meaning the risks can be significant. Under no circumstances should staff abuse the police database for personal use. If they do, and you have been a victim of a data breach of this nature, you could be eligible to make a data breach compensation claim with the Data Leak Lawyers today.
As a leading firm of UK data breach compensation lawyers, we are incredibly concerned to learn of the Greater Manchester Police data breach that may affect thousands of victims of serious crime.
Representing thousands of clients for No Win, No Fee compensation cases for individual claims and in over 45 group action matters, our team is dedicated to fighting for the rights of those whose personal and sensitive information has been exposed or misused. We have seen how damaging a leak like this can be, and we have settled serious privacy compensation claims having been specialising in this area of law for over the last six years.
If you have been affected by this incident, we may be able to help you.