Research uncovers police data breach

ABUSING their access to confidential databases resulted in three police officers and two civilians being sacked by Derbyshire Police, a report has revealed.

A further 11 officers and four civilians were subjected to internal disciplinary procedures for breaching the Data Protection Act. One police officer and two civilians were convicted of breaching the act.

The research by the civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch covered the three-year period from May 2008 until May this year. It revealed that across the country 243 police officers and staff received criminal convictions for breaching the Data Protection Act, 98 had their employment terminated and 904 were subjected to internal disciplinary procedures.

Daniel Hamilton, director of Big Brother Watch, said police should adopt a zero tolerance and those found guilty of abusing their position should be sacked on the spot.

In a statement, Derbyshire police said their staff were trained in appropriate, authorised and lawful use of the information systems: “We take any misuse very seriously, as is reflected in these figures.

“Derbyshire Constabulary is committed to providing a high-quality policing service to everyone in the county and will not tolerate misconduct, dishonesty and unethical behaviour which cause damage to public confidence and the reputation of the force.

“When conduct falls below the standards we expect, there will be an investigation into what has occurred and if the allegation is proven then appropriate action will be taken.”