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UK Editor

Police Service of Northern Ireland discloses second data breach in as many days

Aug 10, 20232 mins
CybercrimeData BreachData Privacy

PSNI reveals theft of documents including a spreadsheet containing the names of more than 200 serving police officers and staff.

man running away with personal data
Credit: Lightspring / Shutterstock

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has disclosed a second data breach affecting the personal data of serving officers in as many days after it revealed the theft of documents including a spreadsheet containing the names of more than 200 serving police officers and staff from a "private vehicle" in the Newtownabbey area in Northern Ireland. The incident took place on July 6, 2023, with a police-issue laptop and radio stolen alongside the documents. The latest data breach emerged just one day after the PSNI disclosed an accidental leak of the personal details of police officers and civilian personnel.

"We have contacted the officers and staff concerned to make them aware of the incident and an initial notification has been made to the office of the Information Commissioner regarding the data breach," read a PSNI statement published on August 9. "This is an issue we take extremely seriously and as our investigation continues, we will keep the Northern Ireland Policing Board and the Information Commissioner's Office updated."

Chair of the Police Federation calls for "credible explanations" following data breaches

Liam Kelly, chair of the Police Federation (PFNI), has called for credible explanations from the service following confirmation of the second data breach. "This confirmation by the service makes matters worse. Clearly, urgent answers are required. How did this happen? What steps were put in place to advise and safeguard so many colleagues?"

The major security breach was bad enough, but this heaps additional pressure on the PSNI to produce credible explanations around data security protocols and the impact on officer safety, he added. "Speed is of the essence. This cannot be dragged out as officers of all ranks throughout the service are seeking reassurance and an effective action plan containing all necessary measures to counter the damage and minimise risk."

Kelly said he has been inundated with calls from worried officers. "The Police Federation has had in-depth discussions already with the PSNI senior command and they fully accept and recognise the gravity of this situation and the depth of officer anger and concern."

UK Editor

Michael Hill is the UK editor of CSO Online. He has spent the past 8 years covering various aspects of the cybersecurity industry, with particular interest in the ever-evolving role of the human-related elements of information security. A keen storyteller with a passion for the publishing process, he enjoys working creatively to produce media that has the biggest possible impact on the audience.

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