Data breach PSNI: Apology as Northern Ireland data breach reveals identifies 10,000 police staff

A major data breach has leaked the indentity of 10,000 police staff in Northern Ireland
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has apologised after a major data breach mistakenly revealed the details of its 10,000 staff members. The breach meant that the surname, initial, the rank or grade, the location and the departments of all current PSNI officers were available online for people to see.

The details were revealed In response to a Freedom of Information (FoI), where the PSNI had shared names of all police and civilian personnel, where they were based and their roles. They were published online and then removed.

Police Service of Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd has apologised to officers saying: “This is unacceptable.”

“Regrettably, this evening, I’ve had to inform the Information Commissioner’s office of a significant data breach that we’re responsible for,”

“What’s happened is we’ve received a Freedom of Information request, that’s quite a routine inquiry, nothing untoward in that. We’ve responded to that request, which was seeking to understand the total numbers of officers and staff at all ranks and grade across the organisation, and in the response, unfortunately, one of our colleagues has embedded the source data, which informed that request.

“So, what was within that data was the surname, initial, the rank or grade, the location and the departments for each of our current employees across the police service,” he added.

He added: "We operate in an environment, at the moment, where there is a severe threat to our colleagues from Northern Ireland-related terrorism and this is the last thing that anybody in the organisation wants to be hearing this evening.

"I owe it to all of my colleagues to investigate this thoroughly and we’ve initiated that."

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd speaks to media about the data breachPolice Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd speaks to media about the data breach
Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd speaks to media about the data breach

The Northern Ireland Secretary has said he is “deeply concerned” about the data breach involving the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). Writing on Twitter, Chris Heaton-Harris said: “I’m deeply concerned by the data breach involving the PSNI.

“My officials are in close contact with senior officers and are keeping me updated.”

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has made the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) aware of an “incident”.

An ICO spokesperson said: “The Police Service of Northern Ireland has made us aware of an incident and we are assessing the information provided.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.