Police and Criminal Justice Agencies Data Breaches

Like any other organisation, Police and Criminal Justice Agencies have a duty to protect your personal information and can be held liable for a personal data breach. The criminal justice system includes the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the prison and probation service. Each has access to a wide range of our personal data. They also have a duty to store and process our data within the law set out in the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. Data protection is a core requirement to support the effective administration of justice.

What is Data breach?

A data breach is defined by the DPA and GDPR as: A breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed. This includes breaches that are the result of both accidental and deliberate causes.

A cursory glance at the ICO website shows that all too often criminal justice agencies sometimes make mistakes in handling or processing our personal data. This may lead to compensation claims for breach of personal data.

Criminal justice agencies feature prominently in enforcement action taken by the ICO.

Here are some examples of Police data breaches:

  • June 2018: Gloucestershire Police fined £180,000 for revealing identities of complainants of sexual abuse in bulk email
  • May 2018: Crown Prosecution Service fined £325,000 after losing complainant interview videos
  • April 2018: Humberside Police fined £130,000 after disk containing a video interview of an alleged rape victim went missing
  • May 2017: Greater Manchester Police fined £150,000 after DVDs of complainant interviews got lost in the post
  • April 2016: Kent Police data breach resulting in a fine of £80,000 for abandoning confidential interview tapes
  • May 2015: South Wales Police fined £160,000 after losing video interviews with a complainant of sexual abuse
  • November 2013: Ministry of Justice fined £140,000 after the details of all prisoners serving at HMP Cardiff were emailed to three of the inmates’ families
  • October 2012: Greater Manchester Police fined £120,000 after the theft of unencrypted memory stick containing details of people with alleged links to serious crime
  • Last year, Gloucestershire police were fined £80,000 by the ICO for revealing the identities of abuse victims in a bulk email. The officer in the case sent an email update to 56 recipients inserting the email addresses into the ‘To’ field, and not activating the ‘BCC’ function which would have prevented the victims’ details being shared with others.

At DRM Legal our data breach solicitors are experienced in advising clients who have had their personal data breached by the police or other criminal justice agency. We will be able to advise you if you have a compensation claim. If you are unsure whether your personal data has been breached get in touch with DRM Legal today. If we advise that you have a valid claim, we may be able to act for you on a NO WIN NO FEE basis. You can also complete our Make A Claim form to check whether you have a valid data breach claim against the Police or Criminal Justice Agency.

Compensation for distress

Unlike other data breaches involving, for example, financial information, data breaches involving the police or criminal justice system are usually based solely on the distress you have suffered, rather than/in addition to financial loss. However this is not always the case as the loss of any personal data may lead to fraud as cybercriminals are becoming more inventive in the way they monetise stolen personal data.

If you have suffered a police data breach, you will know how far-reaching its affects can be. The data breach may impact your relationships, job opportunities or progression or it may cause significant distress and loss of confidence. The initial stress you suffer when you become aware of the breach may result in a diagnosis of conditions like anxiety or depression or it may exacerbate a condition which you already have. Many of our clients experience stress, lack of sleep, anxiety and confidence issues following a data breach. At DRM Legal, we think these consequences are just as important as any financial loss.

If the breach has caused you to suffer direct financial loss or distress then you may be entitled to compensation. Data breaches can and do cause serious and lasting damage. We can ensure that mistakes are put right, private information stays private and that compensation is received for financial damage and emotional distress.

If you have suffered a police data breach or if your personal data has been lost, you have the right to claim compensation.

You can make a claim for compensation against:

  • the police
  • the Crown Prosecution Service
  • the prison and probation service
  • the courts
  • the Ministry of Justice

How to make a data breach claim

Get in touch with our team to find out whether you may have a data breach claim against the police or a Criminal Justice Agency. If we think that you do have a valid claim for compensation, we will act for you on a no win-no fee basis. This means you have nothing to lose by pursuing your claim, whether or not it succeeds.

Once you have given us the details of your claim, we will consider these and let you know how much compensation you could receive if you were to make a claim. You can then instruct DRM Legal to proceed with your claim and get the compensation you deserve.

If you would like to claim, fill out our claim form now or call our team to discuss your case.