Investigation launched after PSNI send data of 152 individuals to foreign authorities

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The PSNI has admitted the data breach. Credit: PA

An investigation has been launched after the personal data of 152 individuals was shared by the PSNI with foreign law enforcement agencies it said was “in a manner that did not comply with Data Protection law”.

The breach is being investigated by the Police Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The PSNI admitted the information shared could have influenced decision making by the USA on whether to let individuals into the country.

The breach was first reported by the Belfast Telegraph which says that the information related to both loyalist and republicans.

The paper reported “four loyalists who received letters informing them of the breach say they have not travelled to the US in the last 10 years, nor have they applied for a visa to travel to America".

In a statement issued to UTV by the PSNI, Chief Superintendent Sam Donaldson said: “We have recently been investigating a data breach within our Extradition Unit.

“This is an issue we take extremely seriously and as part of our investigation we made a self-referral to the Office of the Police Ombudsman and informed the Information Commissioner’s Office.

“We have accepted a number of recommendations from the Police Ombudsman and in recent months all have been implemented."

He continued: "Our investigation has identified 152 individuals whose personal data was shared with external law enforcement agencies in a manner that did not comply with Data Protection law.

“In some cases this sharing may have influenced the decision making of external law enforcement agencies in respect of travel to the United State of America.

"Assistant Chief Constable Christopher Todd, our senior information risk officer, has written to those affected to apologise and advise them of the circumstances.

“We have also kept the Northern Ireland Policing Board and the Information Commissioner’s Office updated.”