More than 200 police staff across the North-East and North Yorkshire breach data protection laws (From The Northern Echo)
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More than 200 police staff across the North-East and North Yorkshire breach data protection laws
MORE than 200 police staff in the region have been caught breaching data protection laws - including one officer who revealed confidential details of a murder.
Dozens of police officers and civilian workers have been disciplined for accessing confidential and personal information for their own use.
Figures obtained using freedom of information powers revealed that Northumbria had 81 staff censured for breaking data protection laws between January 2009 and October 2013.
In North Yorkshire, the figure was 80, Cleveland had 56 and Durham eight.
In Cleveland a special police officer was handed a written warning after divulging confidential information relating to a murder.
Three of the Durham Police staff caught accessing police systems for personal use resigned, three were given final warnings, another was given management advice and one was dismissed.
One low-ranking member of Durham police staff was dismissed after it was discovered they had searched police systems for “curiosity value”.
In North Yorkshire, four of the officers disciplined were inspectors or chief inspectors, seven were sergeants, 31 were constables, 14 were PCSOs and 24 were civilian staff.
Three staff were dismissed for breaches, eight resigned before proceedings began and 58 received written warnings, management advice or informal action.
A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: “The security of personal data held by North Yorkshire Police is an issue we treat extremely seriously.
"Regular proactive monitoring of access to data on a daily basis, accounts for the majority of the recorded breaches which are featured in the statistics.”
Detective Superintendent Jon Green, head of the professional standards department at Cleveland Police, said the force took unlawful disclosure of personal information very seriously.
He added: “We work closely with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) when appropriate to do so, taking whatever steps possible to prevent the extent of any further disclosure once it is discovered.”
Nationally, hundreds of police staff, including high-ranking officers, were censured for breaching data protection laws, including snooping on their children and ex-wives.
More than 100 staff were sacked and nearly 200 resigned as a result of breaches.
The ICO, which upholds information rights among public bodies, said it had fined two forces 220,000 in recent years after serious failings were uncovered.