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Merseyside Police Data Breach – Can I Claim?

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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What Is A Merseyside Police Data Breach?

The UK GDPR sets out that personal information is any data that could identify or help to identify a data subject. It is this information that needs to be protected under the new data protection laws.

A data breach is where personal information relating to a data subject is destroyed, altered or lost, or accessed or disclosed to an unauthorised party as the result of a security incident. If a Merseyside Police data protection breach were to occur, you’d need to show how the force’s actions allowed the breach to happen in order to claim data breach compensation. In addition to this, you’d need to show that the breach caused you financial or emotional harm.

For example, a member of staff could send an email about an investigation to the wrong recipient that contained your name, address and telephone number. You may be able to begin a claim if that caused you to suffer from anxiety, distress or if you lost any money as a result.

However, if police computer systems were fully up to date with security systems but were hacked by cybercriminals, a data breach claim would be less likely to succeed. This is because the police force could be said to have done everything in its power to protect your data.

As mentioned at the beginning of this guide, you can only claim for a police data breach if you have suffered mental harm or financially as a result. To discuss how you have been affected by a data breach, please call today. You could be offered free legal advice by one of our advisors.

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 HarmSeverityCompensation Range More Information
General Psychiatric Damage(a) Severe£51,460 to £108,620A very poor prognosis because of the impact on life, work and relationships. Treatment will be unlikely to result in any great improvement.
(b) Moderately Severe£17,900 to £51,460Similar problems as above but with a more optimistic prognosis.
(c) Moderate£5,500 to £17,900Many of the same symptoms as above but a good prognosis because of marked improvements.
(d) Less SevereUp to £5,500Accounts for how long symptoms caused problems for the claimant, such as sleeplessness or an impact on daily activities.
PTSD (a) Severe£56,180 to £94,470Causes permanent symptoms that will prevent the claimant from functioning at a level close to pre-trauma.
(b) Moderately Severe£21,730 to £56,180The effects of the mental harm will cause significant disability for the foreseeable future, but there will be a better prognosis than in the above category, and some recovery may occur with professional help.
(c) Moderate£7,680 to £21,730The claimant will have almost fully recovered. Some symptoms might persist but they won't be grossly disabling.
(d) Less Severe Up to £7,680

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.

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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