Police Data Breach Compensation Claims
By Mary Nora. Last Updated 15th November 2022. The police have a responsibility to safeguard any personal information they have about you. This can be your name, your address, reports you have made or your criminal history, for example. Your personal information must be kept confidential, and can only be used lawfully and appropriately. If you suffer harm because of a police data breach, you could claim.
This guide will explain the law around data protection and the responsibilities the police have with your personal data. It will explain how police data breaches can happen and how, if you were affected, you can bring action against a police force and make a claim for compensation for suffering harm due to a breach. We will also show you how you can get in touch with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel to potentially help you.
Advisers are also available to speak with you directly about your claim. They offer free legal advice and can answer any questions you might have about the claims process. You can speak with one now by:
Select A Section
- What Is A Crime Or Police Data Breach?
- What Data Could Be Involved In a Police Data Breach?
- How A Police Force Could Breach The UK GDPR
- How Do Data Breach Claims Work?
- Police Data Breach Claim Amounts
- Suing The Police In The UK – Get In Touch
A police data breach can occur when information about a person is unlawfully or accidentally accessed, altered, destroyed, changed or disclosed.
Personal data or personal information is information that can be used to identify you, whether directly or alongside other data.
It is your personal data and it is protected by the data protection and privacy laws in the country, the primary ones being the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA).
Any processing of your personal data must be justifiable and lawful, and organisations with access to it have a responsibility to make sure it is securely stored and kept confidential.
If your personal information is used or shared in a manner that is not considered lawful and valid, and you suffer harm from this, you could be eligible to make a data breach claim against the police force responsible.
If you can prove suffered harm due to a police data breach, please reach out to one of our advisers for information on the steps you can take.
The type of potential personal data a police force could process includes:
- Names, addresses and phone numbers
- A person’s criminal history
- A report a person made about a crime
- A report a person made as a witness
This type of information can be sensitive, and it being exposed in a breach can be a cause of great concern or worry. If you were affected by a police data breach, please reach out to one of our advisers for help.
Data breaches can occur for different reasons, such as the below.
Accessing or allowing access to your personal data without a lawful reason
The police, or anyone working within the police force, have to have a lawful reason to process your personal data; this applies to viewing, sharing or using your personal information, for example.
If they access your personal data without a lawful cause, or allow an unauthorised person access to your data, they can be found to have breached the UK GDPR.
Sent your information to the wrong person
A human error can lead to your personal information being sent to the wrong postal address or email address. The police have a responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of your data and this can be considered a data breach if they had the correct address on file.
Send inaccurate information about you
Part of the responsibility in safeguarding a person’s data is maintaining its integrity and accuracy. In certain circumstances, such as requested background checks, a police force can lawfully send information about a person’s criminal history to an organisation. Sending incorrect information can be a data breach, and you could make a claim for compensation if you were negatively affected.
If you can prove a police data breach caused you harm, why not speak with one of our advisers for information?
You could make a claim if:
- The wrongful conduct of an organisation in control of your personal data caused a breach.
- Your personal information was compromised in the data breach.
- You suffered financial loss or psychological harm, or both, as a result.
To make a data breach claim, you are first required to contact the responsible organisation and inform them of your intentions to begin proceedings against them. This is called a letter before claim and is a requirement by law, so as to try and first reach a resolution without the involvement of the courts.
Your letter would detail your complaint, the fault of the organisation, the harm you suffered and can include a request for compensation to address the harm you suffered, or the costs they may have inflicted on you.
In data breach claims, you can seek compensation for financial losses, and mental harm, like anxiety or stress because of the breach.
As the matter can be serious, we would advise you to speak to a solicitor for help with making a claim against the police. They can help you draft the letter before claim and manage any further communications with the police on your behalf.
To see if you can speak to a solicitor, please speak with one of our advisers about your police data breach claim.
Click Here To Learn More About Data Breach Compensation Claims
There are two types of compensation you can seek in a data breach claim:
- Material damages: For financial losses from the breach.
- Non-material damages: To address any psychological injuries, or mental suffering from the breach.
This is a table featuring potential compensation award brackets for psychological injuries. The figures come from the latest edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), produced in April 2022. This is the publication commonly used to assess compensation awards for injuries.
Injury Notes Award
PTSD Psychiatric disorder causing symptoms such as disturbed sleep and mood disorders Severe Cases The symptoms will be permanent and prevent the claimant functioning as before £59,860 to £100,670
Moderately Severe Cases The claimant will have displayed the symptoms as above but will have a better prognosis for recovery £23,150 to £59,860
Moderate Cases The claimant will have mostly recovered £8,180 to £23,150
Less Severe Cases The claimant will have more or less made a full recovery within two years £3,950 to £8,180
Psychological Damage Mental harm affecting a person's ability to cope with life or personal relationships Severe Cases The claimant will be heavily affected with a poor outlook for recovery £54,830 to £115,730
Moderately Severe Cases The claimant will be heavily affected but has a more optimistic outlook for recovery £19,070 to £54,830
Moderate Cases The claimant will have shown symptoms earlier on but is recovering well £5,860 to £19,070
Less Severe Cases The claimant's ability to perform daily activities was affected for a period of time £1,540 to £5,860
A ruling was made in the Court of Appeal case, Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc (2015) that changed how compensation in data breach claims was awarded. Previously you needed to have suffered material damages to be able to claim for non-material damages. This is no longer the case. You can make a claim for mental harm, without making a claim for financial harm.
Our advisers can give you more information on your potential compensation in your claim against the police.
In the UK, suing the police is possible if you have valid grounds to do so. For example, you might have grounds to claim against the police if you were harmed because your police records were accidentally deleted. If the police lose records that they should have kept safe, this can be considered a breach of data protection. If you’ve been harmed psychologically or have suffered financial losses because of a police data breach, you could potentially claim.
Much like in personal injury claims, you can also work with a data breach solicitor on a No Win No Fee basis.
This means no upfront costs to hire them and no ongoing solicitor fee. A solicitor would consider your claim and only proceed if they believed it had merit and had a high likelihood winning. This is because their legal fees would only come from the compensation you are awarded if you were successful. It is called a success fee, and it is a percentage of the compensation awarded that’s capped by law. If you are not awarded compensation, you wouldn’t need to pay this fee at all.
To see if you can use the services of a No Win No Fee data breach solicitor from our panel, please reach out to one of our advisers now. You can do this by;
Police Data Breach Resources
You can report your concerns about a potential police data breach or misconduct with your data to:
- Information Commissioner’s Office
- Independent Office For Police Conduct
AdviceNow is a charity dedicated to making access to justice easier. They offer a guide on complaints against the police
Thank you for reading our guide on what you could do after suffering a police data breach. We also offer guides on other topics such as:
Checked by HT