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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.
The Hampshire police officer in question is understood to have left his position in disgrace after investigations began into his misuse of police IT systems. A misconduct hearing followed, in which it was found that the special constable had accessed the personal information of around 18 people. Hampshire Police confirmed that the individual would have faced dismissal as a result of the events had he have not resigned.
The potential consequences of police data breaches can be severe. If someone reviews information about people they know on police databases, this can be stressful for the victims. The information in this case reportedly included victims’ private details and conviction information.
The hearing was not public, and very few details have been released into the public domain. However, perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the case is the fact that the perpetrator accessed information without authorisation over a period of 9 years, it is understood. It is certainly concerning that his actions had not been picked up more quickly, and it raises questions about how effectively the police are tracking and monitoring for potential illicit information access.
It is understood that curiosity was the primary motive for the former Hampshire police officer’s actions, and it was reported that there was no evidence that he had shared the information any further. Nevertheless, when police officers access personal information without authorisation or reason, the consequences can be severe. The exposure of crime victims’ personal information not only constitutes a severe breach of data protection law, but it also has the potential to put their personal safety at risk.
If you have been affected a police data breach, you may be entitled to make a GDPR compensation claim. No police officer has the right to generally view, share or use your data without a valid reason, and any incident like this could constitute a breach of data protection law.
Your Lawyers are leading expert Data Breach Lawyers representing victims for data breach claims. We have represented clients for a number of similar incidents, in which actions like those of the Hampshire police officer have compromised their privacy.
We have been representing clients for data protection matters since 2014, so we have the experience needed to bring your claim to fruition. To receive free, no-obligation advice on your potential claim, you can contact our team today or register your details for a call-back.
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