Lexis 200 wide

Raise £5 for charity in 15 minutes.

Complete this short survey and LexisNexis will donate £5 to the International Rescue Committee. We want to find out more about the daily challenges you face when drafting and reviewing legal documents.

The weblink to the survey is: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HMSP8QF

ICO fines police force £100k over information left in former station PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 14:11

A police force has been fined £100,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office after confidential information – including interview videotapes – was left in the basement of a former police station.

The incident came to light when a police officer visited some business premises in November 2012 on an unconnected matter. The officer concerned noticed a box of tapes apparently with the logo and name of Kent Police.

The owner said he had found the tapes in the basement after his company had bought the site two months before. He said he was intending to view the contents as a possible source of entertainment.

The next day police officers went to the former station, which had been unoccupied for more than three years.

There they discovered that a large number of items had been left in the basement. These included files relating to threats to kill, rape, grievous bodily harm and child abuse cases; interviews with victims, witnesses/informants and suspects; sickness and absence records; and details of loans and pay relating to police staff.

Some of the information contained dated back to the 1980s, but most was fairly recent, according to the ICO monetary penalty notice.

The ICO said Kent Police had no guidance or procedures in place to make sure personal information was securely removed from former premises.

“In the absence of any specific policies or procedures, it wasn’t clear who was ultimately responsible for ensuring that the former police station was vacant at the point of sale,” the watchdog added.

“This lack of documented procedures was exacerbated by a breakdown in communication between the different departments involved in the long process of decommissioning the building.”

Kent Police’s estates department has now implemented a procedure to be followed when vacating police premises and designed to prevent a recurrence of this type of breach.

Stephen Eckersley, ICO Head of Enforcement, said: “If this information had fallen into the wrong hands the impact on people’s lives would have been enormous and damaging. These tapes and files included extremely sensitive and confidential information relating to individuals, many of whom had been involved in serious and violent crimes. How a police force could leave such information unattended in a basement for several years is difficult to understand.

“Ultimately, this breach was a result of a clear lack of oversight, information governance and guidance from Kent Police which led to sensitive information being abandoned. It is only good fortune that the mistake was uncovered when it was and the information hasn’t fallen into the wrong hands.”

A Kent Police spokesman said: “Kent Police has co-operated fully with the Information Commissioner’s Office and accepts the findings of its investigation. It is unacceptable for police property to have been left at the site of the former station in Gravesend following the move to North Kent Police Station in July 2008.

“Since this was reported in 2012, Kent Police has reviewed its policies to ensure all documentation and files containing personal information are dealt with appropriately and in compliance with Data Protection legislation. In addition we have now implemented new procedures when vacating police premises.”

The spokesman added: “After the discovery of the loss of data from the former police station, officers quickly retrieved and secured all documentation and property belonging to Kent Police. No sensitive information was lost or further disseminated.”

 

Latest News

July 31, 2014

Court hearing over Tower Hamlets election to go ahead after challenge fails

An election court will be convened in August to hear a petition over whether the London Borough of Tower Hamlets’ elected mayor should be unseated. Read more
July 31, 2014

Tribunal tells council to disclose criteria used for grading positions of employees

Bradford Metropolitan District Council has been told that it must disclose the criteria it uses to grade employees’ positions. Read more
July 29, 2014

ICO says 'big data' must operate within existing data protection laws

The Information Commissioner’s Office has warned that ‘big data’ – the analysis of massive datatsets – “can – and must – operate within data protection law”. Read more
July 28, 2014

London borough approves abolition of its regional planning committees

The London Borough of Redbridge agreed earlier this month to abolish regional planning committees. Read more
July 24, 2014

Community council rapped for failure to help non-Welsh speakers follow meetings

A community council in Wales has been criticised for failing to provide ways for English speakers to follow its proceedings and for unreasonably preventing a resident from attending its meetings. Read more
July 24, 2014

Leadership of borough council in North West pursue unitary status

Chorley Borough Council’s leadership wants to break away from Lancashire and become a unitary. Read more
July 23, 2014

Government intervention in Doncaster to end early after good progress made

Government intervention at Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council is to end almost a year early in recognition of progress made in tackling its problems. Read more

 

Features

Dialogue iStock 000009191235XSmall 146X219
July 31, 2014

Media strategy for local councils - beyond the parish notice board

Will the National Association of Local Councils' guidance to town and parish councillors not to talk to journalists without prior consent have a chilling effect on public life? Eleanor Hoggart, assistant practice director of Legal Services… Read more
Spotlight iStock 000003933485XSmall 146x219
July 24, 2014

Academies and FOI

In an academies case, the First-tier Tribunal has recently considered issues around freedom of information and the boundaries of public and private service provision. Robin Hopkins looks at the lessons to be learned. Read more
July 24, 2014

Data protection, compulsory audit and the NHS

Mandatory ICO data protection audits are likely to be introduced for the NHS by the end of the year. Claire Bentley, Emma Godding and Jane Bennett look at the background and the key issues. Read more
July 10, 2014

Council meetings – lights, cameras, action!

New regulations come into force at the end of this month, leaving local authorities with less than 28 days in which to prepare for their meetings being filmed, tweeted or blogged. Olwen Dutton explains the changes. Read more
June 26, 2014

Speaking up

The High Court ruled earlier this year in a case where a non-planning councillor spoke at a planning committee meeting. Mary Tate examines the ruling. Read more
June 12, 2014

Data protection and child protection

Christopher Knight examines a strike-out application made by a number of local authorities over claims that they held inaccurate and damaging information about the claimant. Read more

 

 

Knowledge Bank

May 18, 2012

Managing in a Political Environment

Author: Nicholas Dobson, Freeth Cartwright This paper outlines the changing role of the local government lawyer in the context of the legal, political and constitutional framework of local government. This paper looks at the legal powers that underpin the role of local authorities, including the…
April 19, 2012

General Power of Confidence – ‘A New Hope’?

Author: Nicholas Dobson, Freeth Cartwright The general power of competence has been designed to give councils the confidence to act, using the power as their primary tool, without needing to refer back to central government. The question is: will the new power deliver?
March 27, 2012

Predetermination and Bias - Can Careless Talk Still Cost Decisions?

Author: Nicholas Dobson, Freeth Cartwright Ministers entered government much exercised about the law surrounding predetermination. In the opinion of some, this was a conspiracy by local government lawyers to undermine the democratic process. And they were going to have none of it! The 2010…
March 15, 2012

Recent developments in freedom of information

Author: Anya Proops, 11KBW The body of jurisprudence relating to freedom of information has continued to develop apace over the last year. The exponential growth in appeals being heard by both the first-tier and upper tribunals has meant that practitioners are having to work ever harder to keep…

Older news and features

July 24, 2014

Academies and FOI

June 26, 2014

Speaking up

Click here for full section archive

Banner

Featured Jobs


CLICK HERE to search all current vacancies

Featured Courses & Events

50% off LGLtv subscriptions

Sign up for Courses and Events Updates

* indicates required

Services v2

Yellow pages iStock 000009762383XSmall cropTo access details of individual advertisers, please click on the relevant banner below.

To search all entries in the Local Government Lawyer Services Directory, please click here

 

 


 Shout_to_the_top_looking_left_iStock_000006002590XSmall_98x74 Latest Blog Posts

 

 


 

Ballot_iStock_000006080605XSmall_thumb

Snap Judgement

Will the SRA's decision to remove the 16 hour minimum training requirement...