Hundreds of police staff forced to quit for snooping

More than 100 police staff were sacked and nearly 200 resigned for breaching data protection laws - from snooping on their children and ex-wives, to social media gaffes.

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Worst incidents of data misuse by police staff

Police staff have been censured for a range of breaches, from providing incorrect information to the public and leaking details on social media to snooping on friends and relatives.

Kent Police reported a member of police staff performed "unauthorised computer checks" on an ex-partner's ex-partner "for personal reasons". He or she received a final written warning.

In Lancashire, a Pc received management action after a claim that she "wrongly divulged information about the death of her estranged husband to her daughter shortly after his death". The force did not provide any further details of the incident.

A special constable with Dorset Police resigned after he posted a video of himself walking around Poole police station on YouTube, revealing the identities of other officers and the station layout.

Read: Which police forces were the worst offenders?

Avon and Somerset Police recorded most breaches

The Freedom of Information request revealed a total of 2,031 cases of data protection breaches between January 2009 and October 2013.

The five police forces with the highest number of breaches are as follows:

  • Avon and Somerset - 289
  • Greater Manchester - 161
  • West Mercia - 116
  • Devon and Cornwall - 95 (includes data from 1st January 2007)
  • Kent - 86

Data was provided by 35 different police forces, while Essex, Hampshire, Thames Valley and West Yorkshire refused to supply any details.

Read: Almost 300 police staff forced to quit over data misuse

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Almost 300 police staff forced to quit over data misuse

Hundreds of police staff, including high-ranking officers, have been censured for breaching data protection laws - from snooping on their children and ex-wives, to social media gaffes.

35 police forces responded to the Freedom of Information request Credit: Chris Young/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The cases include police officers and other staff accessing confidential and personal information and spreading rumours in the communities they were policing.

A total of 113 staff were sacked and 186 resigned as a result of breaches in England and Wales over a five-year period, according to figures obtained by a Freedom of Information request.

Of those investigated, at least 34 were inspectors or chief inspectors, while 474 were deemed "staff" - civilian officers who do not get involved with rank-and-file policing.

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