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Police ordered to pay damages for obtaining private information about absent officer

The Central London County Court awarded damages to a former police office, whose former employer, the Metropolitan Police sought personal information about her from the National Board Targeting Centre (NBTC) which is managed by the Greater Manchester Police.  The information sought concerned a trip Ms Brown had taken to Barbados with her daughter while she was on sick leave.

The NBTC provided details of the trip together with personal details of Ms Brown including her name, date of birth, passport number and the details of 15 flights taken by her over a six-year period.  Details about her daughter were also provided.  The information was used as part of police disciplinary proceedings regarding an allegation of unauthorised absence abroad.

The defendants admitted liability for breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and wrongful interference with the applicant’s Article 8 rights.  The judge found that a claim for misuse of private information was also made out.  Damages of £9000 were awarded and in assessing damages, the judge took two matters into account:

1.     The fact that the defendants were both police forces who might have been expected to obey the legal requirements, but instead pursued the requests for information;

2.     On the other hand, there was not wide dissemination of the material for profit.

Read Inforrm article here.

Private Information & Data Protection