London

Hundreds of Met Police data protection breaches revealed

Data protection breaches at the Met Police including instances of officers assisting criminals and selling personal details have been revealed.

Results of a Freedom of Information request shows 300 police breaches between January 2009 and October 2013.

Other Met officers harassed colleagues, accessed porn at work and lied to managers in an effort to cover up breaches of Data Protection rules.

The Met said it treated allegations "extremely seriously".

The breaches cover rank-and-file officers, senior investigators and civilian staff at the Met, which employs around 31,000 officers, 13,000 police staff and 2,600 Police Community Support Officers (PCSO).

'Drugs information leaked'

Around a fifth of cases ended in a sacking or retirement, while two-thirds resulted in formal action.

Breaches ranged from minor rule-breaks on social media to serious allegations of misconduct leading to arrests.

According to the Met, in one case, criminals used an officer to "obtain data from police indices to assist in criminality".

In a separate case, an officer was arrested for leaking intelligence "of a significant level to a prominent criminal with links to firearms".

A further officer was discovered to be leaking information regarding drugs.

In a handful of cases, journalists were secretly supplied with information by police - sometimes in exchange for cash, the Met confirmed.

Of the 300 cases investigated and substantiated, 208 were subject to formal action being taken - including criminal prosecutions.

The remaining 92 cases resulted in a variety of outcomes including written warnings, management action and resignation.

Civil liberties group Big Brother Watch deputy director Emma Carr said police needed to be more transparent about staff data breaches.

A Met spokesman said: "We recognise that protecting the sensitive data we hold is critical to public confidence and our ability to fight crime effectively."

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