The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued a reprimand to Thames Valley Police (TVP) after details were released which led to suspected criminals learning the address of a witness.
The witness therefore moved house and the impact and risk to them remains high.
TVP did not have appropriate steps, such as training, in place to ensure officers were aware of guidance around disclosure and redaction. This is a breach of data protection law.
The force has since updated guidance and policy documents about redaction but more needs to be done.
“Sensitive personal information relating to crimes needs to be handled with great care. This case shows the impact on vulnerable people if that’s not done.
“Our enforcement action in this case should act as a warning to other organisations that they must take sensible steps to protect people’s personal details.”
– Natasha Longson, ICO Head of Investigations
The ICO recommended that TVP should take action to ensure their compliance with data protection law, including:
- Providing training to all staff responsible for redactions and disclosures
- Sharing updates to policies or processes as soon as they are available
- Continuously reviewing policies and guidance on the handling of personal data
Notes to editors
- The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent regulator for data protection and information rights law, upholding information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
- The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA2018), the United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR), Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR) and a further five acts and regulations.
- The ICO can take action to address and change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit.
- To report a concern to the ICO telephone call our helpline on 0303 123 1113, or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.