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Humberside Police force fined £130,000 for data protection breach

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Although many of us are grateful for the help and protection our police force provide us, they are not above the law; even when it comes to the Data Protection Act.

In fact, the police service is unfortunately at the centre of a large volume of data breaches, studies have confirmed.

As a victim of a police data breach you are entitled to claim for data protection compensation – just because it’s the police does not exempt them from legal action and in this case, you can see the weight of the law applied to one force in particular who were fined £130,000.00 for a huge data breach.

In this concerning story, Humberside Police somehow managed to lose documents and disks containing very sensitive details about an alleged sexual assault case.

According to the press release from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), unencrypted disks and documents were left on an officer’s desk to be posted to Cleveland Police, but the package never arrived. It remains unknown as to whether the documents and disks were posted, or whether they went missing at the police station.

The ICO investigation found a number of failings, such as:

  • The failure to encrypt the disks
  • The failure to have a detailed audit trail of the package
  • The failure to adhere to their own Information Security Policy with relation to removable media

The documents and disks are said to have contained video footage of an interview with the alleged victims as well as the victim’s name, address, date of birth, signature and details about the alleged assault.

A significant breach

This is a significant breach. It should not be possible for a person to be able to simply wander into a police station, and any data being transferred between stations must not be sent by way of normal mail; especially when it comes to data concerning an alleged sexual assault case. The fact that the data has gone missing and has not been recovered is a catastrophic failure on the part of the police service, and we’re astounded that this has happened.

Head of Enforcement at the ICO, Steve Eckersley, said:

“We see far too many cases where police forces fail to look after disks containing the highly sensitive personal information contained within victim or witness interviews… This case shows how crucial it is to keep a clear record of what’s been sent, when and who to.”

He went on to note the how vital staff data protection training is for police forces, and commented that, given the sensitive information the police deal with, anything that goes wrong is likely to be serious.

What can you do as a victim of a police data protection breach?

If the police are responsible for breaching your rights to data privacy, you may have a claim for data protection compensation. We do represent victims who need to claim for a police data breach, so for help and advice, please feel free to contact our team on 0800 634 75 75 today.

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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First published by Author on April 09, 2018
Posted in the following categories: Data ICO Latest and tagged with

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