Police Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide – How Much Compensation Can I Claim? – Amounts For Police Data Breach
I Was Affected By A Police Or Criminal Justice System Data Breach, Could I Make A Claim?
Whether you’ve committed or are accused of committing an offence, are the victim of crime, or have witnessed a crime, the police are likely to have processed or stored some of your personal data. But did you know that it may be possible for that data to have been breached and that if it has, and you’ve been harmed emotionally or financially because of a breach of your data, you could make data breach claims against the police?
This guide sets out the information you may need to know if you’re looking to claim for a police data breach or criminal justice data breach. In the sections below, we provide guidance on the laws that protect your personal data, how it could be breached and how a breach could affect you. We also offer guidance on making data breach claims against the police or the Ministry of Justice, including details of the benefits of using a lawyer to make a claim. In addition to this, we explain how we could help you begin a claim without you having to pay a penny until your claim has been successfully settled. If you’d like us to check your eligibility to make a police data breach claim, or you know you’re eligible and would like our help to start your claim, you can call the Legal Expert team on 0800 073 8804 at any time.
Select A Section
- A Guide To Data Breach Compensation Claims Against The Police
- What Is A Data Breach Compensation Claims Against The Police?
- General Data Protection Regulations Applying To The Police
- How A Police Force May Breach A Person’s Data Protection Rights
- Breaches Of Data Protection And The GDPR By Police Forces
- How To Raise A Case With The Information Commissioner’s’ Office
- How To Make A Data Breach Claim Against The Police Force
- How Victims Of Police And Criminal Justice System Data Breaches Could Be Compensated
- Calculating Police Data Breach Compensation Settlements
- No Win No Fee Data Breach Compensation Claims Against The Police
- Finding Lawyers Who handle Data Breach Cases
- Discussing Your Case
- Supporting Resources
The police, like every organisation that handles personal data, are bound by the Data Protection Act 2018 when it comes to the collection, storage, sharing and processing of data subjects. They are also bound by The General Data Protection Regulations, or GDPR, the strongest data privacy and security law in the world, which came into force in 2018.
While the police are bound by these laws and have measures in place to protect the personal information of those whose data they store and process, in some cases, something could go wrong, and this could lead to a breach of your personal data. If you suffer financial losses or emotional distress as a result of such a breach, this could lead to you being able to make data breach claims against the police.
This guide explains in detail how a data breach by a police force or a data breach by the Ministry of Justice could occur, and what they could lead to. We also look at the role of the Information Commissioner’s Office in enforcing the Data Protection Act and GDPR, explaining how they could investigate a police force data breach if you do not get a satisfactory response from the police themselves. We also look at how you could maximise the compensation you receive for police data protection breach claims by using the services of an experienced lawyer. If you have any questions while reading this guide or would like to begin a claim right away, you can contact us at any time.
Whether you’ve been accused of doing something wrong, have reported a crime, or work for the police, they may have processed your personal data at some point. If they have, whether you have committed a crime or helped them in some way, you have the right to have the personal data the police have about you protected under data protection laws.
However, sometimes this doesn’t happen.
A data breach, by definition, is any incident that involves
- Lost data
- Stolen data
- Unlawful or unauthorised storage of data
- Unlawful or unauthorised processing of data
- Unlawful or unauthorised transmission of data
- Unlawful or unauthorised access of data
- Unlawful or unauthorised alteration of data
What Could Happen If Personal Data Is Breached?
If your personal data is breached, this could lead to identity theft, financial theft, fraud, loss of privacy and emotional distress. If you believe that you have suffered material or non-material harm due to a breach of your police data, data protection laws allow you to seek compensation through data breach claims against the police.
Like any organisation, the police have a responsibility to store and process data according to the principles of GDPR. This regulation, which came into EU law in 2018, is the toughest data and privacy law across the globe. It has 7 main principles that the police must abide by, which include:
- Purpose limitation
- Lawfulness, transparency and fairness
- Data minimisation
- Integrity and confidentiality
- Storage limitation
If the police were to breach GDPR, then they, like any organisation, could face action from the ICO, which could include enforcement actions such as fines. If a breach of your personal data has caused you to suffer emotionally or financially, you could make data breach claims against the police under GDPR.
A data breach by the police could happen in a number of different ways. These could include:
- A letter being mistakenly posted to the wrong address, when the systems should have been updated to reflect a change of address so that this did not happen. For example, an ANPR data breach could happen if the relevant department sent a letter to your old address because you were suspected to have parked illegally, or were accused of speeding.
- The loss or theft of sensitive information technology hardware, such as USB sticks, laptops, computers and other devices that contain data. For example, if a laptop was stolen and it had access to the Police National Computer, a data breach could occur if someone was able to log into it.
- A government department being subjected to a cyber attack. Whether this leads to a courts data breach, a PNC data breach or any other breach of your data, if you are harmed by it, financially or emotionally, this could lead to a claim if the attack was possible because computer equipment had not been updated/kept secure.
These are just a few examples. If you’ve suffered a criminal justice data breach, an Automatic Number Plate Recognition data breach, or any other breach of your personal data by the police or any department within the criminal justice sector, we could assess your case to see if you could claim.
If you’re interested in learning more about data breaches that have happened within the police force, the two cases below might be of interest to you.
Metropolitan Police Data Breach (2018)
In 2018, the ICO ruled that a data breach had occurred in relation to a database known as the Gangs Matrix. This database held the details of alleged gang members, and while the ICO ruled that there was a specific purpose for the data to be on the database, the way in which it was used was not compliant with data protection rules.
As a result of the ICO investigation, it issued an enforcement notice, which gave the force 6 months to implement changes to ensure it did not risk Metropolitan Police data breaches of the same nature in future. The timing of this case meant it was dealt with according to the Data Protection Act 1998, as opposed to GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018.
Greater Manchester Police Data Breach
In October 2020, a statement was posted on Greater Manchester Police’s website, revealing that they were investigating a potential data breach. The police reported the potential breach to the ICO, and investigations were ongoing at the time.
While neither of these incidents has led to a police force data breach fine, we should mention that the ICO has the power to enforce breaches of data protection laws by fining those responsible. In fact, a Ministry of Justice data breach led to the MoJ being fined £140,000 in 2013 when it was found that details of all inmates serving time at HMP Cardiff were sent to 3 inmates’ families. (Source: https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice-management/moj-fined-140000-for-data-breach/5038309.article)
If you believe your personal details have been breached, you may be interested to learn that the ICO advises you to raise a complaint with the organisation that holds your data; in these cases, this would be the police themselves. The ICO suggest that you put your complaint in writing, make sure it is addressed the appropriate department, and give a timescale as to which you would like a response.
In your report, the ICO advise you to be specific, stating the nature of the breach and how you believe it happened. You could also mention how you have been affected by the police data breach.
If the police don’t respond to your report in a timely manner, you could escalate your complaint to the ICO and ask them to investigate. Complaints to the ICO should be made within three months of the breach, however, as if there are delays in bringing your case to their attention, they may not investigate.
We should advise you that whether you report your case to the ICO or the police or not, you could still seek legal advice and make a claim against them for a breach of your personal data. There are, however, time limits to claiming; 6 years for a police data breach and 1 year if you’ve suffered a breach of your human rights.
If you’re looking to make data breach claims against the police, you may not know where to begin. If you wish to go it alone, you could write a letter asking the police to investigate the data breach and pay you compensation for any financial losses or emotional distress you’ve suffered as a result. If the police do not issue a satisfactory response to your request, as mentioned you could escalate your complaint to the ICO and ask for an ICO investigation into your complaint.
However, you may not want to go through the process of making a claim alone, as it could be difficult to know what would be an appropriate figure to ask for, and negotiating with the police could be a long-drawn-out process that could be quite stressful for some. This is why many claimants prefer to use a solicitor to handle the negotiations for them. If you would like us to provide you with a solicitor, we could help with this.
GDPR affords people the right to request compensation from an organisation if they’ve suffered damages as a consequence of an organisation breaking data protection law. Whether there has been a data breach by an individual police offer, or you’ve suffered a data breach by the courts, this right still exists.
The compensation you could claim could include financial losses as well as a loss of data privacy and the emotional distress you may have experienced due to the breach.
Making Data Breach Claims Against The Police For Emotional Distress
A case that was heard at the Court of Appeal in 2015 set an important legal precedent regarding compensation for psychological effects relating to a data breach. The case we refer to, Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc  – Court of Appeal, involved the judge presiding over the case addressing the issue of psychiatric and psychological injuries caused by a breach of personal data. He said that such injuries should be considered. This set a precedent for those who have suffered emotional distress, including confusion, anxiety, depression and stress as a direct result of a breach of their personal data, and could allow for such claims to be made.
When it comes to calculating a settlement for emotional distress for data breach claims against the police, you would have to have an independent medical assessment. Your psychological injuries would be assessed, and a report would be compiled detailing your prognosis for recovery as well as the level of injury. This could be used to come to an appropriate value for your claim.
We understand that many claimants would like to get a rough idea of how much compensation they could be eligible for, so we have created a table using the Judicial College Guidelines’ figures for psychological injury and PTSD to give you some insight into how much compensation you could claim.
|Injury||Notes||Compensation Bracket (JCG)|
|Less severe PTSD cases||The injured party would have almost fully recovered within 1-2 years post-trauma. They may only experience very minor symptoms over a longer period of time.||Up to £7,680|
|Moderate PTSD cases||Any continuing disabilities wouldn’t be gross, and the injured person would have largely recovered.||£7,680 to £21,730|
|Moderately severe PTSD cases||With professional help, the injured party would have a prognosis for some recovery. However, some continuing significant disabilities could remain.||£21,730 to £56,180|
|Less severe psychological injury||How long the injured party has suffered for, as well as their daily activities and sleep were impacted by the injury would be taken into account.||Up to £5,500|
|Moderate psychological injury||While a significant impact may have been experienced when it comes to the person’s ability to cope with life, education and work, and their relationships, there would have been marked improvements in the impact that the injury has had and the person would have a good prognosis.||£5,500 to £17,900|
|Moderately severe psychological injury||While a significant impact may have been experienced when it comes to the person’s ability to cope with life, education and work, and their relationships, their prognosis would be more positive than the most severe category.||£17,900 to £51,460|
Making a data breach claim against the police could be daunting, which is why many claimants may prefer to use the services of an experienced lawyer. Here at Legal Expert, we believe that accessing legal assistance should not have to be cost-prohibitive. We believe everyone who has a valid claim should be able to make one without having to pay upfront for a lawyer’s services. This is why all of our lawyers are able to take on eligible claims under No Win No Fee payment terms.
This means you won’t have to pay your lawyer until and if your compensation has been paid out. The process usually works as follows:
- You’d sign a Conditional Fee Agreement – this would promise your solicitor a specified ‘success fee’ in the event that compensation was negotiated for you. The fee is capped, legally, and is usually a small percentage of your payout.
- Once signed, your lawyer would work on your behalf to claim the compensation you deserve
- When compensation has been negotiated, the success fee would be deducted from it, with the rest being for your benefit
- If no compensation is awarded/negotiated, your lawyer would not require you to pay their costs, nor the success fee
If you have any questions about these payment arrangements, there is a further guide covering No Win No Fee claims in more detail at the bottom of this page. Alternatively, you could give us a call and we’ll be happy to explain these terms in more detail.
It’s not difficult to find lawyers who could handle data breach claims against the police on your behalf. A simple search engine request will bring up lots of different results. But how do you find a lawyer you could be sure would be able to fight for the maximum compensation possible for your case, and one that could offer a really great service?
Here at Legal Expert, we’d be glad to provide you with such a lawyer. We know there are lots of legal firms offering similar services to ours, but we have a tried and tested team who have produced compensation settlements for a variety of clients and a variety of different types of claim.
Our previous customers have attested as to the level of service we provide, and you could be sure we would work hard to offer you the same great service. If you would like to learn more about what other claimants have thought of our services, click here. We think they will convince you that we could be the appropriate choice to help you with your claim.
If you’re still not sure, why not call our advisors. Not only could we provide free, no-obligation advice on your case, but we could also check your eligibility, and talk to you about how we could help you. Our friendly, knowledgeable advisors could answer any questions about your case and give you confidence that we would be able to help you.
If you would like to discuss your cases or ask us any questions about making data breach claims against the police, we’d be happy to help. We could also help you start your claim by providing you with a Legal Expert solicitor, who could help fight for compensation on your behalf. All you need to do is get in touch with us:
- Via telephone: 0800 073 8804
- By e-mailing the team: firstname.lastname@example.org
- By using our handy Live Chat service
- Or, by completing the contact form.
General Advice – General advice on making a claim for a data breach can be found in this guide.
What To Do If Data Is Breached?– The ICO offer guidance to organisations who may have suffered a data breach.
How Could Data Be Used?– This is a useful resource from the ICO that talks about what data could be used for.
No Win No Fee Lawyers– This guide explains more about No Win No Fee.
Credit Card Data Breaches – This guide covers making a claim for a breach of credit card company data.
Enforcement And The ICO – This page from the ICO website shows what actions they have taken for breaches.
Guide by Jeffries
Edited by Billing