Wednesday, 6 February 2008


With the amount of information that various intitutions keep on members of the general public these days and especially the police, my question is, how can this kind of thing be allowed to happen?

This article has been taken from the This is Cornwall website (see link below).

09 January 2008

Confidential police documents alleging a man charged with murdering a child was at the home of a vulnerable toddler have been found in a Bodmin street.The secret police log was handed to the Cornish Guardian by a resident who discovered it in Dennison Road.

Embarrassed police chiefs have now launched an urgent internal investigation to find out how the sensitive details came to be lying in one of the town's busiest roads.

It discloses police concerns for the safety of a toddler who is on the Child Protection Register and a group of "inappropriate adults" who are said to be present at his home.

The confidential log gives an account of a phone call to the police made by a woman who claims one of those in the house is a man previously charged with murdering a child.

Full details, including names and addresses, are contained on the document.

The Guardian has now handed the file back to members of Devon and Cornwall police's special investigation team.

The revelations could not come at a worse time for a police force already under pressure for security breaches.

Two weeks ago, a confidential computer disk was found dumped at a recycling centre in Exeter. The disk contained the names and addresses of hundreds of Devon and Cornwall police officers, plus civilian staff.

Police chiefs promised to tighten up on security after that incident, and the latest breach in Bodmin has left top officers facing another embarrassing situation.

Superintendent John Green said Devon and Cornwall police took the issue of unauthorised or accidental disclosure of information seriously, and a full internal investigation was under way.

He said: "The investigation will establish the cause of the disclosure and I am confident will identify any learning points which may be taken from this.

"I apologise for any concern this may raise with the community.

"We have already taken steps to reassure any person who may have been named in the printout of our plans."

Assistant Chief Constable Bob Pennington said he was grateful to the Guardian for returning the papers.

"Devon and Cornwall Constabulary takes privacy and data protection very seriously and it is unfortunate that a sensitive piece of paper such as this has been mislaid by a member of our staff.

"We attend thousands of incidents every month across Devon and Cornwall and it is important to note that the vast majority of cases do not require us to print off data such as this from our systems before we attend.

"However, when there is a lot of information coupled with the need to respond quickly, officers will print a copy to take with them which saves time and ensures accuracy.

"We understand that the public's concern about issues such as this may have been heightened by other recent stories about data loss within the public sector. I would like to take this opportunity to reassure the public we are confident our existing technology is safe.

"This incident is, however, a lesson for us all to be careful when handling sensitive material."

Source: This is Cornwall
Link: News article

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