Met of­fi­cer fed in­for­ma­tion to drug deal­ers

Re­port de­tails breaches in po­lice force

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Alexan­der Ballinger

LEAKS within the Metropoli­tan Po­lice in the past five years in­clude in­for­ma­tion be­ing passed to drug deal­ers, ac­cord­ing to a re­port.

Shock­ing ex­am­ples have been re­vealed af­ter a series of Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quests into po­lice data breaches re­vealed 39 in­ci­dents within the Met since 2011.

Fig­ures ob­tained by cam­paign group Big Brother Watch have re­vealed there were ‘at least’ 2,315 data breaches across the UK po­lice forces be­tween June 2011 and De­cem­ber last year.

The Metropoli­tan Po­lice, which did not fea­ture near the top of the list of forces to have the high­est num­ber of breaches, says only a small pro­por­tion of its 45,000 of­fi­cers and staff have al­lowed data to be leaked.

How­ever, it added it is ‘not com­pla­cent’ in pro­tect­ing per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

Re­nate Samson, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Big Brother Watch, said: “We trust the po­lice to keep us safe and in the 21st cen­tury that is as much about keep­ing our data se­cure as pro­tect­ing us on the streets.

“The rev­e­la­tion that the po­lice are still com­mit­ting 10 data breaches a week shows that work still needs to be done be­fore we can be sure our per­sonal in­for­ma­tion is safe in their hands.

The Metropoli­tan Po­lice does not rank among the 10 po­lice forces that have seen the high­est num­ber of data breaches over the past five years.

West Mid­lands Po­lice ranked top with 488 breaches, fol­lowed by Surrey Po­lice with 202.

The of­fi­cer who passed in­tel­li­gence on to two known drug deal­ers or users was con­victed of the of­fence, while an of­fi­cer who at­tempted to leak a vic­tim’s name through Snapchat re­signed from the force dur­ing dis­ci­plinary ac­tion.

An­other of­fi­cer was found to have passed in­for­ma­tion of an ar­rest onto the sus­pect’s em­ployer, caus­ing him to be fired.

One in­ci­dent in­volved an of­fi­cer car­ry­ing out 30 unau­tho­rised searches on a po­lice in­tel­li­gence data­base be­tween 2005 and 2010.

In to­tal, 27 of the data breach of­fences were com­mit­ted by po­lice of­fi­cers, while 12 were by civil­ian mem­bers of the force.

A Metropoli­tan Po­lice spokesper­son said: “Em­ploy­ees are reg­u­larly re­minded of their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and the fig­ures only show a small pro­por­tion of the Met’s em­ploy­ees fail to meet the re­quired stan­dards.

“How­ever, we are not com­pla­cent and fully recog­nise that our role, and the trust placed in us, as the capital’s po­lice ser­vice, re­quires the ut­most dis­cre­tion in the way we man­age the huge amount of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion we come into con­tact with on a daily ba­sis.”

From last Jan­uary new reg­u­la­tions were put in place to pre­vent of­fi­cers re­sign­ing or re­tir­ing amid al­le­ga­tions that could lead to a mis­con­duct hear­ing, the po­lice added.

Across the coun­try, 800 em­ploy­ees were found to have ac­cessed per­sonal in­for­ma­tion for no polic­ing rea­son, while data was shared in­ap­pro­pri­ately or with­out au­tho­ri­sa­tion al­most 900 times.

Only three per cent (70) of cases re­sulted in a crim­i­nal con­vic­tion or cau­tion, 11 per cent (258) in writ­ten or ver­bal warn­ings and 13 per cent (297) in res­ig­na­tion or dis­missal.

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