WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
February 01 2023
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO

Police data breach puts victim-survivors of sexual offences at risk

Police data breach puts victim-survivors of sexual offences at risk

Police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore has issued an “unreserved apology” for a serous data breach containing details of victim-survivors of sexual offences. Suffolk Police published sensitive details, including victims’ names, addresses, dates of birth and details of offences on its website.

The data breach was only discovered a matter of weeks ago despite the information being released in error in 2019. A member of the public revealed the breach to Suffolk constabulary and it was later removed. Reports indicate that the data was published in a spreadsheet entitled ‘inquiries into sexual offences and offences that occurred in schools which were reported between April 1 2015 and March 31 2019’. The police estimates that 2-3% of the investigations published contain information that might lead to victims being identified.

It is not known how many people viewed the information and no police officer is under investigation or in the process of disciplinary action. However, Suffolk Rape Crisis expressed concerns that the breach may put victims of sexual violence at further risk and noted the importance of their right to safety and security.

The assistant chief constable, Eamonn Bridger, said the breach was not obvious on their website as it was contained within a reply to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request. As a result, all responses to FoI requests have been removed from the site to ensure no more personal information would be leaked.

Bridger says, “We are committed to making sure we do everything we can to avoid a similar incident happening in the future and have already implemented changes that will ensure these circumstances do not happen again.”