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ICO hits Manchester Police with £150,000 fine

05/05/17

Information commissioner sanctions force for losing unencrypted DVDs of victim interviews

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has hit Greater Manchester Police (GMP) with a £150,000 fine for losing three DVDs containing footage of interviews with victims of violent or sexual crimes.

CD RomsThe force sent the unencrypted DVDs, which showed named victims talking openly, to the Serious Crime Analysis Section (SCAS) of the National Crime Agency in the post by recorded delivery but they were never received. The DVDs have never been found.

An investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found that the police force failed to keep highly sensitive personal information in its care secure and did not have appropriate measures in place to guard against accidental loss. This is a breach of data protection law.

Sally Anne Poole, ICO enforcement group manager, said: “When people talk to the police they have every right to expect that their information is handled with the utmost care and respect.

“Greater Manchester Police did not do this. The information it was responsible for was highly sensitive and the distress that would be caused if it was lost should have been obvious.

“Yet GMP was cavalier in its attitude to this data and it showed scant regard for the consequences that could arise by failing to keep the information secure.”

The investigation also found that the force had been sending unencrypted DVDs by recorded delivery to SCAS since 2009 and only stopped after the security breach in 2015.

In 2012 it fined GMP £150,000 after an unencrypted USB stick was stolen.

Image by Rob Davies, CC BY 2.0 through flickr

 

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