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Police fined £150k for email gaffe

Created on 08/06/2016 @ 18:44
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Our local police force has had its collar felt to the tune of £150,000 after an email containing the details of sex offenders in Powys was sent to the wrong person.

An Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) investigation found that Dyfed-Powys Police did not have the right measures in place to keep personal information secure, after the email containing information that could be used to identify eight sex offenders, was sent to a member of the public in error.

Anne Jones, ICO Assistant Commissioner (Wales), said: “While at first glance this might seem like simple human error, it was made possible by the poor procedures the force had in place around protecting people’s personal data.

“This is a troubling story, and one that will do little to reassure the local community that its police force can be trusted to look after sensitive information.”

The email error came after an officer emailed colleagues with details including a list of eight people based in Powys, including their names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses. The email also contained information that inferred that the individuals were sex offenders.

But the officer mistakenly sent the email to a member of a local community scheme, after selecting the wrong name in the force’s email address book.

That address book was only meant to be used for internal emails, but an ICO investigation found that it had grown to contain frequently used email addresses for people outside of the force. The recipient of the email was the first name in the alphabetical list, and had received five emails meant for other people in just four days in April 2015.

Anne Jones added: “This was an accident waiting to happen. The force failed to take advantage of earlier opportunities to address the problem, and now faces the consequences of getting it wrong.”

The new Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “It’s vitally important that peoples’ personal data is kept safe.

“The public can be sure that I’ll be holding Dyfed-Powys Police to account to guard against any possible future breaches of regulations.

“I’m content that, in light of this regrettable incident, the force has made important changes and learnt significant lessons.”



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