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Page last updated at 05:49 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 06:49 UK

Security breaches at police force

Hand on keyboard (generic)
Unauthorised access of the force's system led one employee to resign

Ten data security breaches in three years have taken place at South Wales Police, it has emerged.

A member of staff was prosecuted for accessing and disclosing "intelligence information and previous convictions".

In another case, an employee resigned after being found guilty of charges relating to unauthorised access of the force's computer system.

A worker also resigned after accessing "personal data". The incidents arose from April 2005 to April 2008.

BBC Wales had submitted freedom of information requests about security breaches to all four Welsh police forces but South Wales Police refused to disclose details.

The information was released by the force after BBC Wales asked the information commissioner's office to investigate.

In one case, a member of staff resigned from South Wales Police after being prosecuted for accessing and disclosing information.

The employee pleaded guilty to three charges and was given an absolute discharge - where the court takes no further action but the discharge appears on their criminal record.

Written warnings

In a second case, an employee resigned after being found guilty of charges under data protection legislation for unauthorised access of the force's system.

A third worker resigned ahead of an internal misconduct hearing after accessing "personal data and intelligence" about "an inappropriate associate".

Other cases resulted in lesser sanctions such as cautions or written warnings.

REQUEST TIMELINE
April 08 Original freedom of information request sent to all forces
May 08 South Wales Police rejects request on grounds of cost
Oct 08 BBC Wales appeals to force to review the refusal following full disclosure by other three forces
Feb 09 BBC Wales sets deadline of March to release information or reject appeal
March 09 BBC Wales refers case to the information commissioner's office
June 09 South Wales Police releases the information

Two breaches reported by South Wales Police involve ongoing investigations with little further information given out.

BBC Wales initially made a freedom of information request about security breaches 15 months ago.

The three other forces released full details but South Wales Police refused saying it would cost too much money to gather the information.

It eventually released the details following an investigation at BBC Wales' request by the information commissioner's office, which rules on whether public bodies are implementing the law properly.

The other forces released details earlier this year including Gwent Police which admitted to losing a disc with the names of more than 2,300 victims of crime.

Dyfed Powys and North Wales forces also reported cases of personal details being accessed by staff on police computers.



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