Kent Police fined by ICO

The ICO has stepped in and fined Kent Police £100,000 after interview tapes dating back to the 1980s were left in a police station when it was abandoned in 2009.

The former police station was purchased by a business owner who was visited by the police in relation to an unrelated matter in late 2012. The officer noticed the Kent Police logo on a pile of tapes, leading the new owner of the premises to explain they had been found in the basement. Alarmingly, the owner told the police officer that he was planning on watching the tapes.

Kent Police subsequently visited the premises shortly after and removed the materials, which also included interviews with victims, informers and criminals. Details of police officers were also included in the retrieved information. The ICO then stepped in and found there to have been no data protection procedures in place to safeguard against any breaches.

The IPO noted that the potential for this infomration falling into the wrong hands could have caused immense damage to a number of individuals, describing the oversight as “difficult to understand”. The size of the fine reflects the seriousness of the breach and underliines the importance of having adequate data protection procedures in place, particularly when sensitive personal data is being moved around.

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