Kent Police

Breach details

What Highly sensitive and confidential information, including copies of police interview tapes, were left in the basement of a former police station, which had been sold in September 2012. This was discovered after a police officer visited some business premises on an entirely separate matter, and noticed a box of videotapes with the logo and name of Kent Police. The owner confirmed that he had found the videotapes and was intending to view the contents of the videotapes as a possible source of entertainment
How much Numerous records dating as far back as the late 1980s.
When 28 November 2012.
Why In the absence of any specific policies or procedures, it was unclear who was ultimately responsible for ensuring that the former police station was vacant at the point of sale. This lack of documented procedures was made worse by a failures in communication between the different departments involved in the extended process of decommissioning the building.

Regulatory action

Regulator ICO
Action Monetary penalty of £100,000
When 19 March 2014.

Why the regulator acted

Breach of act Breach of the Seventh Data Protection Principle: Kent Police failed to take appropriate organisational measures against unauthorised processing and accidental loss of confidential and sensitive personal data, such as having specific procedures in place to ensure that the basement of the former police station had been cleared of all items before it was sold to a buyer.
Known or should have known  The data controller was used to dealing with such information and had taken some steps to safeguard the information by carrying out inspections of the former police station, even though the steps taken proved to be inadequate.
Likely to cause damage or distress The failure to take appropriate organisational measures was likely to cause substantial distress to the data subjects even if this is simply by knowing that their confidential and sensitive personal data could have been accessed by the buyer who had no right to see that information. Furthermore there was a risk that the  data may be further disseminated, such as to the media, or used for other purposes by the buyer, with the potential to cause substantial damage to witnesses and informants, such as by putting them at risk of physical harm.