The Police Sent My Personal Data To Someone Else, Can I Claim Compensation?
By Danielle Jordan. Last Updated 24th July 2023. How organisations store, access, process or share personal data is governed by rules and procedures set out in data protection laws. The police might need to hold or process your personal data for a number of different reasons. If the police sent your personal data to someone else unlawfully, then you may be able to claim. However, you would need to show that it caused you harm and the person it was sent to was unauthorised to view it.
This guide will talk about the responsibilities that organisations have when processing your data and what legal options you have if they mishandle your data. We’ll also look at how data breach compensation is valued, and the steps you can take to gather supporting evidence for a data breach claim.
If you want to speak to someone immediately about making a claim, you can contact one of our advisers now by:
Select A Section
- The Police Sent My Personal Data To Someone Else, Can I Claim Compensation?
- Your Data Protection Rights
- When Could The Police Send Personal Data To Someone Else?
- What Evidence Do I Need To Make A Police Data Breach Claim?
- What Could I Claim If The Police Sent My Personal Data To Someone Else?
- Contact Us About No Win No Fee Police Data Breach Claims
A data breach is defined as an incident relating to security in which the confidentiality, security or availability of personal data. Personal data is any information stored digitally or physically that can be used alone or with other information to identify a natural person.
The UK General Data Protection Regulations (UK GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 are the pieces of legislation that form the regime that outlines data protection laws in the UK. They set out strict rules and regulations for organisations that collect and process people’s personal data, including the police.
If you suffered harm because of a police data breach, you could be eligible to make a claim for compensation. However, you’d need to show that the police force’s failings led to the breach happening. If they did everything they could be expected to in order to protect your data but a breach happened anyway, you would not be able to claim.
Our advisers can offer you more information on how to bring a claim forward against the police if they sent your personal data to someone else. Why not give us a call? Our advisors offer free legal advice and could put your claim forward to one of our solicitors provided the case is valid.
Police Data Breach Statistics
Legal Expert reached out to 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales, the national police force in Scotland, and three specialist police forces to obtain information on suspected data breach incidents. 3 police forces responded together so the sample size was 44. Requests were made under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, to which 89% of police forces responded.
This request found that between 2019 and November 2021 there were 13,332 suspected data breach incidents.
Under the GDPR, you have various data protection rights. You’re owed these by any organisation that decides how your data is processed (a data controller) or processes your data on behalf of a controller (a data processor).
These rights are:
- The right to be informed. You should be told which of your data is being processed and why.
- The right of access. You have the right to access the data organisations hold on you. You can make a request to receive a copy of the personal data an organisation has collected about you.
- The right to rectification. If the personal data held by an organisation about you is inaccurate, you have the right to ask that this is changed.
- The right to erasure. You have a right to request the removal of data held on you, although this can be refused in certain circumstances.
- The right to restrict processing. A right, under certain circumstances, to limit the ways in which organisations process your data.
- The right to data portability. You have a right to obtain and reuse your personal data across numerous services.
- The right to object. If you’re unhappy with the way that your personal data is being processed, then you can object to this under certain circumstances.
- Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling. You have the right not to have a decision be made about you that produces legal or other similarly significant effects without human involvement.
Your Rights When Police Hold Personal Data
As well as you having these rights, an organisation must also have a lawful basis under which to process your personal data. They are:
- Consent. Where the subject has given their consent for the data to be processed.
- Contract. Where processing the data is necessary to fulfil a contract.
- Legal obligation. Where there’s an obligation to process the data to comply with the law.
- Vital interest. Where processing the data could save someone’s life.
- Public task. Where processing the data is necessary for you to perform a task in the public interest with a basis in law.
- Legitimate interests. Where the processing is necessary for the legitimate interests of the processor or a third party. There must also be no overriding reason to protect personal data.
In the case of criminal data, there are 28 additional conditions for processing this kind of data. If you are concerned about the way a police force has used your data, you can report this to the ICO or raise your concerns with them directly.
For more information on whether you could claim if the police sent your personal data to someone else, speak with an advisor today. If you have a valid claim, you could be connected with a No Win No Fee lawyer from our panel.
The police may process your personal data if there is a lawful basis for doing so. For example, if you have committed a crime, then the police may share your personal data in an attempt to reprimand you. This would be lawful on the basis of a public task.
The police might also share your data with an organisation that you have granted access to through a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) or criminal record check for an employer. If this is the case, then the police might be able to share your personal data. This would be under the lawful basis of contract fulfilment.
However, the results of a DBS check could be sent to someone else without authorisation to see this. If this is the case, then a third party could see information relating to your previous criminal convictions.
If you were harmed by a breach of personal data by the police, you may be able to claim. Speak with one of our advisors to find out more today.
When making a claim for data breach compensation, having sufficient evidence could help support your case. Some examples of evidence that you could gather to help support your claim include:
- Confirmation that your personal data was involved in a police data breach. This could be a letter or email from the organisation responsible, confirming what personal data of yours was breached.
- If you discovered the breach, any correspondence between yourself and the organisation responsible regarding what personal data was breached could also be used as evidence.
- If you reported the breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and they decided to investigate the breach, their findings could also be used as evidence. (The ICO is an independent body that upholds information rights).
- Evidence that you suffered mental harm due to the personal data breach. This could be a copy of your medical records stating any psychological injuries you have been diagnosed with.
- Evidence that you suffered financial harm due to the personal data breach. For example, a copy of your bank or credit card statements could help prove this.
If you have any questions about what steps you could take to prove your personal data was compromised in a police data breach in the UK, please get in touch with our advisors.
If you had suffered a financial loss from the data breach, you could claim back the amount you lost under a head of claim known as material damages. For example, you could claim back a loss of earnings, a loss of money from a bank detail breach or an impact on your credit score after a credit card breach.
If the breach led to you suffering psychological harm or distress, you can now also be awarded compensation for the stress you suffered in the form of non-material damages. Following the ruling in the Court of Appeal case Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc 2015, you no longer need to have suffered any financial losses to be awarded non-material damages; you can be awarded each head of the claim independently.
The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) can be used to value potential non-material damages. Some figures from the JCG have been included below:
Injury Notes Award
Severe Mental Damage Severe psychological damage affecting a person's ability to cope with life generally and with relationships £54,830 to £115,730
Moderately Severe Mental Damage Cases with a more optimistic prognosis of recovery despite significant issues. £19,070 to £54,830
Moderate Mental Damage Good prognosis for recovery and some improvement will have been made. £5,860 to £19,070
Less Severe Mental Damage The amount of compensation awarded will depend on how much daily functions were affected. £1,540 to £5,860
Severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Permanent psychological effects to all aspects of a person's life £59,860 to £100,670
Moderately Severe PTSD Severe psychological effects with a better prognosis for recovery than in more serious cases, but with significant disability for the near future. £23,150 to £59,860
Moderate PTSD Largely recovered with minimal continuing effects £8,180 to £23,150
Less Severe PTSD A more or less full recovery made within one to two years £3,950 to £8,180
Our advisers can offer you more information on data breach compensation and potentially even value your claim for you. Why not get in touch to see how much you could receive if the police sent your personal data to someone else?
A No Win No Fee solicitor can be used to represent you in a data breach claim. The support and guidance of a solicitor could help you to navigate the process of claiming.
Under a No Win No Fee agreement, you would not be charged an upfront fee nor ongoing fees to represent you. Any payment to them would only be taken on the condition that your claim was successful. If you were not awarded compensation, they would not charge you for their services.
Would you like to see if one of our No Win No Fee solicitors can represent you in your police data breach claim? If so, get in touch with one of our advisers. They offer free legal advice on making a claim if the police sent your personal data to someone else. Furthermore, they can assess your claim and, if they find it to be valid, put you through to a solicitor.
You can reach them via:
Public Body Data Breach Claim Resources
For other additional information, you might need:
- You can make a complaint about the police to the Independent Office For Police Conduct
- The ICO offers information on how to access the personal data the police have about you
- The NHS have guidance on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Thank you for reading our guide on what to do if the police sent your personal data to someone else. We offer guides on other topics such as:
- Making A Claim If Your Sort Code & Account Number Were Disclosed In A Data Breach
- Claims Against Your Employer For A Data Breach
- Making A Claim If Your Medical Records Were Stolen In A Data Breach
- Brentwood Borough Council
- East Suffolk Council
- Solicitors Lost My Medical Records – Can I Claim?
- Sickness At Work Data Breach Compensation Claims
- Foster Care Data Breach Claims
Written by Charles
Edited by Stocks