Northern Ireland Police Data Breach Compensation Claims
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) recently revealed that they had suffered a data breach that resulted in the personal data of police and civilian employees being exposed online. This guide will discuss the breach in further detail by addressing how it occurred, who it affected, the potential impacts it could have, and the steps you could possibly take if your personal data was compromised in the Northern Ireland police data breach.
Our guide will also explore the two pieces of legislation that protect the personal data of UK residents: the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). These two pieces of legislation are enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which is an independent body set up to uphold the information rights of data subjects in the UK.
Additionally, we discuss when you could potentially be eligible to make a data breach claim, and the compensation that could be awarded if you were to succeed.
Finally, we’ll explain how a solicitor could benefit your case and how a solicitor from our panel could help you. Read on to learn more about the data breach, or contact our advisors by:
Select A Section
- What Was The Northern Ireland Police Data Breach?
- How Serious Is The PSNI Data Breach?
- When Could You Claim For A Personal Data Breach?
- What Could You Claim For A Workplace Data Breach?
- Check If You Could Claim On A No Win No Fee Basis
- Further Information Related To The Northern Ireland Police Data Breach
The Northern Ireland police data breach occurred in August 2023. The PSNI released a statement revealing that employee data had been affected in a personal data breach.
The breach occurred as a result of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request response in which the PSNI shared the personal data of all police and civilian personnel via a spreadsheet. The incident has been reported to the ICO who is conducting an investigation.
What Information Was Involved In The Breach?
The spreadsheet was sent in error in response to an FOI request which asked for a breakdown of all staff rank and grades. It contained the personal information relating to the names, surnames and initials of all police and civilian personnel, as well as ranks, grades, and where each employee is based. The information was published to a site called ‘What Do They Know’ for over two hours before it was removed.
Continue reading to find out more about the Northern Ireland police data breach. Or, contact our team today to find out what steps you could take if you were affected by a police data breach.
In a statement released by the ICO, the Information Commissioner referred to the Northern Ireland police data breach as a matter of serious concern as it highlights how the even the smallest of human errors can have major consequences. The ICO recognises the potential impact the breach could have on the people and their families.
A personal data breach can impact different people in different ways. The Northern Ireland police data breach may have serious consequences, both mentally and financially.
Many PSNI employees elect to keep their careers a secret, as police officers in Northern Ireland have been the targets of Republican paramilitary attacks. However, since the breach revealed the names and locations of employees, this could result in staff experiencing anxiety, stress or depression.
While the PSNI data breach did not include the financial information of staff, there may still be financial repercussions. For example, many employees have reported feeling anxious, stressed, and fearing for their safety following the breach. Around 2,000 officers and support staff have expressed concerns about personal security after being left incredibly vulnerable. Some officers may not be able to continue in their roles, and may need to move home. This could lead to financial damage.
If you have been affected by the PSNI data breach, please contact an advisor to discuss whether there are any steps you could potentially take.
A personal data breach is defined as a security incident compromising the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of your personal data. This covers any information which could identify you, either alone or when used with other information; personal data can include your name, email address and phone number.
Data controllers, those who set the purpose for processing, and data processors, those who act on the controllers behalf, have a responsibility to adhere to the UK GDPR and DPA 2018 to protect your personal data.
In order to claim compensation for a personal data breach, you must be able to prove that the breach affected your data, and that it occurred as a result of wrongful conduct. Wrongful conduct occurs when the data controller or processor fails to comply with data protection legislation and can occur in many forms, including human error and cyberattacks.
You must also suffer harm to make a data breach claim. This could be mental harm or financial harm. These are known as non-material damage and material damage, respectively.
To learn about the steps you could take if you were affected by the Northern Ireland police data breach, contact our team.
Personal data breach compensation settlements can be made up of two heads. These are:
- Material damage compensation: This covers the financial losses caused by the breach. For example, this could include fraudulent purchases made on a credit card, or debt accrued in your name. It could also include money stolen from a personal or joint bank account. It could also include the cost of relocating or changing jobs due to the breach.
- Non-material damage compensation: This covers the effect the breach has on your mental health. For example, the breach may cause anxiety, stress, or depression; it could also exacerbate existing mental health illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
The 5th edition of The Green Book is often used when legal professionals calculate non-material damage compensation for data breach claims in Northern Ireland. This document provides guideline compensation brackets. These guidelines correspond with different psychological injuries of varying severity. In the table below, you can find some examples of these guidelines.
Green Book Guidelines
|Severe Psychological Harm||£82,000 – £210,000||This bracket includes cases with a very poor prognosis as symptoms have a severe affect on life, education, and work.|
|Moderately Severe Psychological Harm||£47,500 – £125,000||There are significant issues in coping with the areas outlined above, though there is a slightly better prognosis.|
|Moderate Psychological Harm||£12,000 – £48,500||A significant improvement occurs in symptoms, leading to a good prognosis.|
|Less Severe Psychological Harm||Up to £15,000||Consideration is given to the extent of symptoms and how long they last.|
|Severe PTSD||£60,000 – £120,000||As a result of severe symptoms, there is no ability to work, or function at the pre-trauma level.|
|Moderately Severe PTSD||£45,000 - £95,000||There is a better prognosis in this bracket, as there is some chance of recovery with the help of a professional. However, the effects are still likely to cause a disability of a significant nature.|
|Moderate PTSD||£12,000 – £48,500||A large recovery occurs, leaving no symptoms that are majorly disabling.|
|Less Severe PTSD||£4,500 – £13,000||Over the course of two years an almost full recovery occurs, with the only remaining symptoms being minor.|
Please note that this table is for illustrative purposes only. The amounts shown are not guaranteed.
To get more information on claiming compensation for a workplace data breach, contact our team today.
If you have evidence that the Northern Ireland police data breach affected your personal data and you experienced harm as a result, a data protection solicitor from our panel may be able to help. Working with a solicitor can have a number of benefits. For example, solicitors can help you gather evidence and explain legal jargon, which can make the process seem less daunting.
Our panel of solicitors take on claims from around the country. This means that you aren’t limited to working with a local professional. They also offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis. When you work with a solicitor from our panel, they can offer you a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This is a contract that ensures you don’t pay any upfront fees, or any ongoing fees for your solicitor’s work. It also means that if your claim doesn’t succeed, you don’t pay your solicitor for their services.
If your claim does succeed, your data breach solicitor will take a success fee from your compensation. They’ll take this as a small percentage. However, this percentage is tied to a legal cap. This ensures that the larger share of your compensation stays with you.
Contact Our Team
Our advisors are here to help if your employer breached the UK GDPR, resulting in you suffering emotional or financial damage after your personal data was compromised.
When you get in touch, they can evaluate your claim for free. They can also answer any questions you have about data breaches, the claims process, and how a legal professional could help you with your potential claim. If one of our advisors finds your claim to be valid, they may then connect you with a solicitor from our panel.
Find out more today by:
For more helpful articles surrounding personal data breach claims, we recommend:
- Find out if you could claim for a probation officer data breach and get more information on the claims process.
- Learn about claiming for a treatment centre data breach and find out if you could be eligible for compensation.
- Our guide explores social services data breaches, and when you could be entitled to claim.
Or, for further resources:
- ICO – Be Data Aware
- National Cyber Security Centre – Advice & Guidance
- GOV.UK – Data Protection Information
Thank you for reading our guide on the Northern Ireland police data breach. Contact our team today for more information about the potential steps you could take if you were affected.
Checked by AC