The Greater Manchester Police force has found itself in the dock once more over its “cavalier” attitude to data protection after three DVDs containing footage of interviews with victims of violent or sexual crimes got lost in the post.
The force, which has been whacked with a £150,000 fine by the Information Commissioner’s Office, sent the unencrypted DVDs to the Serious Crime Analysis Section of the National Crime Agency by recorded delivery, but they were never received. The DVDs, which showed named victims talking openly, have never been found.
It was also fined £150,000 in 2012 after an unencrypted USB stick was stolen.
The latest investigation by the ICO found that Greater Manchester Police 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.
ICO enforcement group manager Sally Anne Poole 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 the force 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 ICO investigation found that Greater Manchester Police had been sending unencrypted DVDs by recorded delivery since 2009 and only stopped after the security breach in 2015.
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