Met officer fed information to drug dealers
Report details breaches in police force
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.