Personal data 'compromised' and laptops stolen in Swindon police station burglary

Wiltshire Police declared a critical incident after their Swindon West Police Point was burgled in the early hours of 14 May. Credit: Google Maps

A burglary at a Swindon police station has led to a "data breach", Wiltshire Police said this evening, Thursday 18 May.

Laptops, body worn cameras and protective vests were among the physical items stolen and it has emerged that information about individuals may also have been taken.

Wiltshire Police declared a critical incident after their Swindon West Police Point was burgled in the early hours of Sunday 14 May.

At the time, the force said that a police uniform and equipment had been stolen.

Today, Thursday 18 May, a full list of everything taken was shared with the public - including batons, handcuffs and police notebooks.

Information about individuals and cases under investigation is also likely to have been "compromised", the force's Assistant Chief Constable admitted this evening.

Deb Smith said: "We know that the people entered the premises and would have had access to paperwork in relation to ongoing enquiries and investigations.

"And we are doing a huge amount of work in terms of the data we know have been compromised.

"We are working through contacting those individuals and assessing what risk that might pose and we have referred ourselves to the Information Commissioner's Officer in regards to the data breach."

Wiltshire Police said three arrests have now been made following the incident.

Two of the suspects have been released on bail pending further inquiries and the other suspect has been released under investigation.

The Home Office Emergency Response Team has been called in following the theft of the sensitive equipment.

List of items stolen:

  • Two police hats

  • Two protective body armour vests,

  • A black equipment vest

  • Personal protective equipment (including one PAVA spray)

  • An extendable police baton

  • A police radio

  • Two sets of handcuffs

  • Two body worn video cameras

  • Three torches

  • A black soft-shell police jacket

  • A black soft-shell jacket rear police patch

  • A high visibility baton pouch

  • A police PCSO patch

  • A number of pocket notebooks

  • Five police laptops

  • One set of Wiltshire Police officer shoulder epaulettes (featuring the number 206)

  • One set of Wiltshire Police PCSO shoulder epaulettes (featuring the number 6392)

Wiltshire Police said they are treating the incident with the "utmost seriousness" and have ensured that data cannot be accessed on any of the electronic devices that have been stolen.

They have also made contact with any members of the public who may be affected by the breach of personal data.

The force has also referred themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct and the Information Commissioner's Office, as well as the Home Office Public Safety Group Emergency Response team.

"We are also conducting thorough internal enquires to ensure that we fully understand any lessons which may need to be learned from this incident", the spokesperson added.

Assistant Chief Constable Deb Smith described the incident as "extremely worrying".

“We wish to reiterate our appeal to anyone who may have information relating to this burglary, if you witnessed anything, to please contact us on 101 quoting reference 54230050337", she said.

“In addition, if you have seen, or suspect you may have seen, any of the items that we have detailed were stolen, you can make contact with us by calling 101, quoting reference 54230050337.

"If you would prefer to report any information anonymously, you can contact CrimeStoppers on 0800 555111.

“We are acutely aware of the concern that our communities may feel further to the burglary of a police building. I would like to reassure the public that we are treating this with the utmost seriousness and our investigation continues at pace.

“Most importantly, I wish to remind the public that, if they are unsure whether the person they are dealing with is a genuine police officer, call us on 101 to check their identity immediately or, if they feel extremely concerned or suspicious about whether someone in a police uniform speaking to them is genuine and they do not wish to challenge, then please dial 999 immediately.

“We also offer a simple verification process for the public which will allow them to confirm that an officer is on duty, where all officers can proactively offer to carry out a verification check to anyone they engage with who appears concerned for their safety or is vulnerable.

"The officer can do this by putting their personal issue radio on loudspeaker and asking a member of our control room to confirm who they are and that they are on duty."

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