South Yorkshire Police bodycam evidence lost in data breach

Bodycam footage was among the data lost. Credit: PA

A police force said 69 cases could be affected after evidence including bodycam footage was lost in a data breach.

South Yorkshire Police said it had been hit by a "significant and unexplained" reduction of information stored on its systems.

Digital forensic experts are working to recover the material, which was recorded by officers attending incidents between July 2020 and May 2023.

The force said it had referred itself to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and is working closely with victims and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Assistant Chief Constable Rick Alton said: "I am deeply sorry this has occurred and after we became aware of the loss in data, we notified the Information Commissioner's Office and began work to attempt to recover it.

"We’ve had a team of people working around the clock to manually check each case currently within the criminal justice system.

"We’ve brought in digital forensics specialists to explore how this data loss occurred and to establish if the data can be recovered.

"We will provide an update concerning this when further work has been undertaken. Whilst we remain hopeful, there are no guarantees, so it’s important the victims and the wider public are informed."

An ICO spokesperson said: "We are aware of an incident at South Yorkshire Police and are making enquiries."

In a statement, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings, who oversees the force, said: "There may be implications for victims and witnesses and the wider criminal justice system as some of this footage may be evidence in upcoming court cases.

"The force is working through the implications and direct contact is being made with those affected.

"This incident is disappointing and concerning and the police need to understand quickly what has happened and why.

"I have been briefed by the deputy chief constable and will continue to receive updates as the work continues to recover the data.

"I will also be seeking a full explanation as to how this incident occurred and what measures will be put in place to prevent it happening again."

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