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Merseyside Police Data Breach – Can I Claim?

By Megan Black. Last Updated 12th December 2022. This article explains what steps you could take if you were affected by a potential Merseyside Police data breach. The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) ratified the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) into UK law. Since the UK has left the EU, the DPA has been updated. The UK GDPR sits alongside the updated DPA as the regime that now protects personal data in the UK.

Any organisation that requires your personal data (these are referred to as data controllers) or those who process it on behalf of a controller (data processors) must abide by these laws to try and keep it as safe as possible. Failure to do so could mean they are investigated and possibly fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Additionally, any individual (or data subject) who is harmed by a data protection breach caused by failings on the part of the organisation could sue for compensation.

Merseyside police data breach claims guide

Merseyside police data breach claims guide.

Legal Expert can help if you do wish to claim compensation for a GDPR data breach. We provide free legal advice about your options during a no-obligation telephone consultation. If your claim appears to have a chance of being successful, we could connect you with one of our data breach solicitors.  They could work on a No Win No Fee basis if they take your claim on, meaning you won’t need to pay for their work unless you receive compensation.

To learn more about how a data breach could potentially occur and how you could be impacted, please read on. Alternatively, if you’d like to discuss your circumstances with an advisor, please use live chat or call us on 0800 073 8804 today.

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Data Breach Claim – Police Data Breach

If your personal data has been compromised, causing you to suffer financial loss or mental harm, you could make a personal data breach claim. Personal data is any information that can be used to identify you directly, or in combination with other information. Some examples include:

  • Your name.
  • Home address.
  • Contact information – phone number and personal email address.

A personal data breach is a security incident that affects the integrity, confidentiality or availability of personal data.

Any organisation that processes your personal data must adhere to data protection law. The specific rules and obligations that organisations must adhere to are listed in the DPA and UK GDPR.

If your personal information has been compromised in a data protection breach, compensation may be awarded to you for any of the financial losses and psychological injuries you have suffered. However, in order to be eligible for compensation, you must be able to prove that the organisation’s failures were responsible for the data breach. In the next section, we will provide you with some examples of how your personal data could be breached.

Contact our advisors today to find out what steps you could take if a police data breach were to occur.

How Can The Police Breach Data Protection Law?

In this section, we have provided some examples of actions that could lead to a data protection breach by the police. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Emails that contain personal data are sent to the wrong recipient.
  • Sending personal letters or faxes to the wrong address or fax number.
  • Failing to redact some personal information when sharing documents.
  • A failure to use BCC in emails, meaning that the other email addresses that it was sent to are visible to all recipients.
  • Paperwork, laptops or other devices containing personal data that are lost or stolen.
  • Paperwork or computer devices that are not disposed of correctly. For example, the organisation might require that papers be disposed of in a shredder.

If you’d like to discuss how Merseyside Police data breach could occur and the steps you could take if affected, please call our advice centre today.

Merseyside Police Data Breach Statistics

According to a Freedom of Information Request that was made to Merseyside Police, there were 111 data breaches committed by Merseyside Police between 2019 and the date that the request was made.

These data breaches included:

  • Wrong letters being sent to home addresses
  • Documents being left at the incorrect address or with a neighbour
  • Dispatching unsealed letters
  • Force Systems being used incorrectly for personal use

Some claims have been made in relation to these data breaches. There are 6 settled claims in relation to these breaches, and 8 ongoing litigation cases.

What Steps Can I Take If Affected By A Merseyside Police Data Breach?

You may be wondering what steps you could take if a Merseyside Police data breach were to occur, causing you emotional or financial harm. You could potentially claim; however, you’d be expected to follow certain steps.

You will need evidence to prove that a data breach took place before claiming. In some cases, the organisation responsible might write to you to let you know that your data has been exposed. For example, if a data breach occurs that puts your rights and freedoms at risk, the organisation should tell you about this without undue delay once they become aware of it.

If you find out about the breach yourself, you may wish to:

  • Raise a formal complaint with the organisation you suspect has breached data protection rules and await a response.
  • Escalate the complaint where possible if you don’t agree with the response.

You could also report the data breach to the ICO and ask them to investigate what’s happened if you’re still not happy with the response. You should do this within three months of the last meaningful response from the organisation.

Get in touch with our team today for more information on your rights as a data subject. One of our advisors could offer you free legal advice.

Compensation For A Data Breach Under GDPR

In accordance with the UK GDPR, it is possible to claim for suffering caused by a data breach if it relates to:

  • Material damage. This means you’re able to claim for any expenses, costs or monetary losses incurred because of the data breach. For example, a bank data breach could see your money being stolen.
  • Non-material damage. This element of your claim covers any mental harm you suffer because of the breach. This means you could claim for stress, depression or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) caused by a breach.

To show how much compensation could be awarded for suffering caused by a data breach, please use the compensation table below. It contains data from the Judicial College because their figures are used by solicitors and the courts to determine settlement figures. This publication is usually used in personal injury claims. However, a ruling in the case of Gulati vs MGN Ltd [2015] means that non-material damages in these kinds of claims can be valued in the same way as personal injury claims.

Type of HarmSeverityMore InformationAmount
General Psychiatric Damage(a) SevereA very poor prognosis because of the impact on life, work and relationships. £54,830 to £115,730
General Psychiatric Damage(b) Moderately SevereThe person will still suffer with various problems but will have a more optimistic prognosis.£19,070 to £54,830
General Psychiatric Damage(c) ModerateA good prognosis with marked improvements, despite struggling with various problems.£5,860 to £19,070
General Psychiatric Damage(d) Less SevereAccounts for how long symptoms caused problems for the claimant, such as sleeplessness or an impact on daily activities.£1,540 to £5,860
PTSD (a) SevereCauses permanent symptoms that will prevent the claimant from functioning at a level close to pre-trauma. £59,860 to £100,670
PTSD (b) Moderately SevereThe effects of the mental harm will cause significant disability for the foreseeable future, but there will be a better prognosis, and some recovery may occur with professional help. £23,150 to £59,860
PTSD (c) ModerateThe claimant will have almost fully recovered. Some symptoms might persist but they won't be grossly disabling.£8,180 to £23,150
PTSD (d) Less Severe Within one or two years, the claimant will have made a virtually full recovery. If any symptoms persist over a longer period, they will be minor. £3,950 to £8,180

For more information on how a possible Merseyside Police data breach could affect you and the compensation you could potentially claim, speak to a member of our claims team today.

Working With A No Win No Fee Data Breach Solicitor

The idea of losing money because of solicitor’s fees following an unsuccessful data breach claim may worry you. However, our data breach lawyers can help by providing a No Win No Fee service. Before they do, though, they’ll need to check whether your case has a fair prospect of success.

To do this, they’ll check whether:

  1. A personal data breach has happened.
  2. The data processor or data controller’s actions (or inaction) allowed it to occur. This is referred to as “positive wrongful conduct”.
  3. You have suffered mental harm or financial losses as a direct result of the breach.

A No Win No Fee agreement is sometimes called a “Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). The CFA means that you’ll pay a success fee in the event your case is won. The success fee is a percentage of your compensation that will be deducted by your solicitor. The fee is capped by law to prevent overcharging, and you won’t pay it if your case fails.

However, if your claim is unsuccessful, your solicitor won’t ask you to pay them at all. Furthermore, you won’t be expected to make any upfront or ongoing payments while the claim progresses.

Something else that a No Win No Fee data breach solicitor will check when reviewing your case is whether you’re claiming within the allowable time limits. This is up to 6 years for data breach claims against most organisations. However, you would only have only 1 year to make a data breach claim against a police force. This is because they are a publicly-funded organisation.

For more information on the evidence that could be used to prove that a potential Merseyside Police data breach caused you harm, contact us today. One of our advisors could offer you free legal advice.

Get Advice If You’ve Suffered After A Police Data Breach

Thank you for reading this guide on how a potential Merseyside Police data breach could affect you. If you would now like to discuss your options with us, you can:

Please find some more resources below that may be useful:

Seven Key Principles– These key principles should lie at the heart of every organisation’s data protection regime.

Request Personal Data Held By The Police – A useful guide from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Dealing With Anxiety – NHS advice on overcoming anxiety, distress and panic.

Liverpool City Council Data Breaches – Information on GDPR compliance failures that could lead to a claim against the local authority.

Social Services Data Breaches – This article looks at how social services errors could result in a GDPR data breach.

Personal Data Loss – Advice on when you could make a data breach claim if your personal data is lost by an organisation.

Thank you for reading this guide looking at how a Merseyside Police data breach could occur.

Written by Hambridge

Edited by Stocks

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      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.