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Staff data error leaks personal information of every Northern Ireland police service officer

Staff data error leaks personal information of every Northern Ireland police service officer

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Every police officer in Northern Ireland has had their personal details leaked, leaving officers and their families ‘frightened’, following a staff data breach.

The names, work locations and ranks of all officers were leaked in response to a freedom of information (FOI) request.

Police Service Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable, Chris Todd, said the breach was ‘unacceptable’ and that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) had been informed of the significant data breach.

Reacting to the news, Andy Ward, VP International at Absolute Software, said: “Major organisations such as police departments are among the primary targets for cyber incidents due to the vast amount of sensitive and personal data stored on their systems and with that must take extra caution when it comes to cyber breaches.

“Cybersecurity awareness training is essential to ensure staff understand the threats posed against an organisation, the consequences of breaches and how to respond when they occur. Ensuring breaches are promptly reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office and response protocols are followed can help mitigate the damage of breaches, helping to protect sensitive personal information and reduce remediation time on IT systems.”

Former Minister of Justice for Northern Ireland, Naomi Long, has called for a full investigation into the breach and has emphasised the PSNI’s duty of care to protect officers and introduce additional security measures. 

Long said: “These are people, both staff and officers, who put themselves at risk in order to keep the rest of us safe and the organisation has failed to protect their data and keep them safe.”

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