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The police have unique rights when it comes to processing and viewing personal information, but that does not mean that there are no limits governing their access to private data. In fact, because they have important legal responsibilities, and the data they can access is so sensitive, it is even more vital that they follow strict data protection rules. Misusing police computers can, therefore, be a serious offence.
We naturally trust the police to keep personal information secure by means of technical cybersecurity measures. Just as importantly, we expect it to be protected in accordance with their assumed integrity and professional standards. When a police officer breaches this duty, the effects can be devastating for those affected, particularly for crime victims in cases where the exposed information relates to a sensitive and traumatic incident.
If you have been affected by a police data breach, you may be entitled to claim compensation for the harm caused. No police officer should be exempt from justice when it comes to data privacy breaches. Your Lawyers, as leading Data Leak Lawyers, are here to help.
In a recent incident demonstrating the repercussions of misusing police computers, a special constable has been charged with a data breach offence after he reportedly used a police record system to unlawfully view personal information, Bournemouth Echo reports.
The officer in question was prosecuted at Bournemouth Crown Court, where it was revealed that he had deliberately found out the home address of a 17-year old female, to whom he reportedly then sent a crime scene image displaying blood on the ground. As the search was not carried out for valid policing purposes, the offence constituted gross misconduct.
The officer, who works as a bus driver, had been hoping to pursue a full-time career in the police, but his offence looks to have prevented him from staying in the force. The judge is understood to have expressed regret that he could only issue the defendant with a fine.
Although the majority of police officers appear to comply with data protection regulations, there are unfortunately those who cannot resist misusing police computers for non-professional purposes. For example, the Police National Computer is a UK-wide system containing criminal record information and may represent an attractive prospect to those looking to snoop on private information.
There are also incidents where police officers fail to obtain consent to use information, however good their intentions might be. In one example, the BBC reported that a victim of a hate crime was recently horrified to learn that a video depicting the incident had been used for training purposes at Avon and Somerset Police, entirely without her permission.
The incident at Dorset Police demonstrates that officers can – and must – be held accountable for misusing police computers in accordance with the law. If you have been affected by a data breach caused by police misuse or negligence, and you wish to seek justice, you may be able to claim compensation for any distress or financial losses caused by the breach of your privacy.
To find out more about making a data breach compensation claim, simply contact our team today for free, no-obligation advice.
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