Manchester Police fined for lost victim interview DVDs

back of GMP officer Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The DVDs, which were sent by recorded delivery in 2015, were lost in the post

A police force has been fined £150,000 for losing DVDs containing footage of interviews with victims of violent or sexual crimes in the post.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) sent unencrypted DVDs, showing named victims talking openly, to the National Crime Agency but they were not received.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said the force was "cavalier in its attitude to this data."

GMP claimed the discs "were sent in accordance with national guidance".

The DVDs, which were sent by recorded delivery to the Serious Crime Analysis Section (SCAS) of the NCA in 2015, have never been found.

'Obvious distress'

An ICO probe found the force breached data protection law as it failed to keep highly sensitive personal information in its care secure, and did not have appropriate measures in place to guard against accidental loss.

It found the force had been sending unencrypted DVDs by recorded delivery to SCAS since 2009 and only stopped after the security breach in 2015.

The information GMP was responsible for "was highly sensitive" and "the distress that would be caused if it was lost should have been obvious," Sally Anne Poole from the ICO said.

"Yet GMP was cavalier in its attitude to this data and it showed scant regard for the consequences that could arise by failing to keep the information secure."

The force was previously fined in 2012 after an unencrypted memory stick containing sensitive data was stolen during a burglary at a detective's home.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts said the force "immediately reviewed our own procedures" and "postal delivery is no longer used by GMP for sensitive information" while national guidance has also been amended.

He said the three people in the videos were immediately informed and "have been kept updated" of the investigation and given support.

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