Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly says PSNI list posted on Belfast wall threatening him

A Sinn Féin MLA has said a "sinister threat" made against him is proof dissident republicans have the PSNI list of thousands of officers and staff the organisation last week wrongly published in a catastrophic error.

Policing Board member Gerry Kelly said the document was posted on a wall facing his party offices on the Falls Road in Belfast alongside a picture of him and a threatening message.

The names of the officers had been removed, he said.

“This is a very obvious attempt by dissident republicans to intimidate me," he added.

"Even more sinister, this is a very public indication that the dissidents do have access to the sensitive information in the data leak document, it, therefore represents a very real threat to the officers, and the civilian staff involved.

"I have of course reported this incident to the PSNI and I would appeal to anyone with information to bring that information forward.

"Sinn Féin represents the vast majority of people in the nationalist community and we will certainly not be intimidated by dissident groups who have virtually no support and who offer nothing but disruption and threats in an attempt to make themselves relevant.

"They should disband and end their anti-community activities."

Police said they were aware of the matter and had been preparing for such a development.

DUP Policing Board member Trevor Clarke MLA said the posting of a document on a wall was "clearly an attempt not just to score political points, but to heighten concerns amongst those within the PSNI".

"Threats against police officers, civilian staff or political representatives were never justified and they must be condemned today also.

"The police have worked on a basis from the outset that it may have fallen into the hands of dissident republicans, and it was right to take that cautious approach. In that sense this incident does not change the overall focus of the police, but it reinforces that the threat from this leak will have to be monitored potentiality for some years to come.” In a major data breach, the PSNI, released details of 10,000 officers and staff for a number of hours last Tuesday.

Police initially blamed a junior member of staff for the error.

Chief Constable Simon Byrne apologised for what he described as "an industrial-scale breach".

Simon Byrne said he was aware of claims that dissident republicans are in possession of information from the data breach, but stressed that claim has not been verified. Scores of officers have expressed concern for their safety in Northern Ireland, where police are under threat from terrorists – with the current level of threat assessed as severe, meaning an attack is highly likely. A Threat Management Assessment Group has been set up by the PSNI for those concerned about risk. It had had 1,200 referrals by Friday evening. Mr Byrne cut short a family holiday last week to return to Belfast to answer questions about the data blunder. He was quizzed by political representatives at the Northern Ireland Policing Board on Thursday, and met with police officer and staff representative groups on Friday.

Police also revealed a police-issued laptop, radio and documents were stolen on July 6 from the car which is understood to belong to a superintendent. Over the weekend police said officer, staff and the information commissioner were not informed for almost a month, although the laptop and radio were deactivated "shortly after" the theft.

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd said they were aware "some redacted information from Tuesday, 8 August data breach has allegedly been posted on a wall in west Belfast today, Monday, 14 August". “We have commenced an investigation into this matter," he said. “From the outset we have been planning for this potential development and that plan is now being put into place. We recognise the impact this may have on our officers, staff and their families and additional security and reassurance patrols have already been implemented across Northern Ireland as part of our organisational response. “The safety and welfare of our officers and staff remains our priority and we have reminded them of their personal safety and security both on and off duty.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.