West Midlands Police data breaches over the years
council email data leaks

West Midlands Police data breaches over the years

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In 2017, it was reported that West Midlands Police officers had been responsible for as many as 24 data breaches in just one year. For the most part, the West Midlands Police data breaches were reportedly caused by the inappropriate disclosure of private information.

The breaches, which are understood to have occurred over the course of 2016, show the significant role that human error can play in causing information security incidents. While the West Midlands Police did not reveal specifics of the individual cases, it is nevertheless concerning that officers with access to such sensitive information were not being more diligent in their data protection duties.

For their crime fighting duties, the police force necessarily hold a great deal of sensitive information, so it essential that there are robust defences in place to prevent this data from being exposed. Sometimes, when the police fail in their data protection duties, it can cause immense distress to those affected and can even compromise their personal safety. To us, it is important that all police data breaches are thoroughly scrutinised, which is why we can offer free, no-obligation advice to anyone affected by an incident like this.

The West Midlands Police data breaches

The West Midlands Police data breaches came in number of different forms, but many had human error as their root cause. The types of data breaches included:

  • sending subject access requests (via which people requested to see what information the police held about them) to incorrect addresses;
  • use of insecure emails (e.g. not password protected);
  • loss of technology (including people losing their USB sticks);
  • inappropriate disclosure (sending information to the wrong people).

In addition, there was reportedly a case of “misuse of systems”, but it is unclear exactly what this entailed.

Data security within the police

The West Midlands Police data breaches of 2016 appear to be part of a wider problem across the police service. It was revealed in May this year that as many as 2300 data breach incidents had occurred within the police in 2020. Even more worryingly, these occurred at only 22 of the 45 UK Police forces.

The recent statistics mirror those of a study published in 2016, which found that there had been over 2,000 breaches since mid-2011. Despite the years that have passed, it seems that the police force still has a lot to do to improve its data protection practices, given how prominently human error featured in the West Midlands Police data breaches.

Claiming compensation for a police data breach

If you have been affected by an incident in which the police compromised your data security, you could be entitled to claim compensation. The police, like all data controllers, have a duty to keep your personal information safe in accordance with data protection law, which means they can be held accountable when they fail to do so.

Your Lawyers, as leading specialist Data Leak Lawyers, have been representing victims for privacy matters since 2014. Our firm has been involved in some of the biggest data breach group actions in the UK, including those against Virgin Media and British Airways, so we have the expertise needed to hold powerful companies to account.

To find out more about a potential compensation claim, you can contact our team today for free, no-obligation advice.

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