ICO issues warning about historical personal details accessed through work

An Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) investigation into the actions of two former Metropolitan Police Service officers has concluded. The investigation followed a referral from the Met and looked at whether the two former officers had acted unlawfully by retaining or disclosing personal data. It came after they had spoken to the media about a case they had worked on as serving officers involving an MP.

Following a full investigation, the ICO has considered the evidence in this case carefully. After taking stock of advice from external legal counsel, the ICO has decided not to take formal regulatory action in this case.

The case was investigated under the previous legislation, the Data Protection Act 1998. The law has since been strengthened through the Data Protection Act 2018, of course, which adds a new element of knowingly or recklessly retaining personal data without the consent of the data controller.

The ICO is advising anyone dealing with the personal details of others in the course of their work – be it in a police force, an NHS trust or a private sector business – to take note of this update to the law, and especially so when employees are retiring or taking on a new job.

The ICO’s investigation highlighted some opportunities for police forces to review their handling of personal data such as notebooks to ensure people don’t retain them when leaving the service.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council will be taking this matter forward and providing further advice to forces.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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