Wales

Welsh police sex checks among 85 data protection breaches

Checks on women for sexual purposes are among 85 recorded breaches of data protection in Wales' four police forces, BBC Wales has learned.

Details obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by BBC Wales' Newyddion Ar-lein show a range of breaches over the last five years for non-policing purposes.

Checks on prospective housing tenants and family members, and data passed to third parties are other breaches.

Two police workers were sacked and another has resigned as a result.

South Wales Police's professional standards unit has recorded 26 incidents since 2006 where an officer or member of staff has breached the Data Protection Act.

All of the above-mentioned examples, with the exception of the sackings and resignation, took place within the South Wales force.

It also had breaches involving checks on children and associates, checks on friends of daughters and other checks on people for personal reasons.

Some of the cases related to single checks while others indicate more than one check was made.

In 2009, it referred to "checks upon women approached for sexual purposes" as another example.

Dismissed

Dyfed-Powys Police said it does not hold information for 2006, 2007 and 2010.

But it said an official was dismissed in 2008 for making checks on data for reasons other than policing.

Another official was given a written warning for making checks for personal gain, and another was given advice after revealing sensitive information through an unsafe personal e-mail.

And in 2009, another official was sacked for revealing information while a staff member resigned after accessing personal information without authorisation.

North Wales Police recorded seven examples in 2006 of gaining access to data for reasons other than policing, one in 2007, 12 in 2008, 17 in 2009 and eight in 2010.

There were also three examples of disclosing data in 2007, two in 2008, one in 2009 and one in 2010.

North Wales Police said they "take the security of data seriously and investigate thoroughly every allegation of a breach of the Data Protection Act.

"Investigations regularly take place, and any member of North Wales Police who is found to have breached data protection rules will be disciplined".

According to Gwent Police, there have been no breaches of the Data Protection Act within the force over the last five years.

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