The police hold plenty of personal information on many members of their local community, in complex and extensive files online.
To find out the true extent that data breaches can have on our public services, VPNOverview submitted a Freedom of Information request to UK police stations.
The Metropolitan Police, the largest police force in the UK, have no incidences of data breaches since 2016.
The findings show that The Metropolitan Police recorded zero data breach cases in 2020, making it just one of two stations that recorded such low numbers.
Additionally, Dorset Police had a clean sheet with no data breaches recorded between 2016-2020.
However, other stations have not had the same luck.
Since 2016, the station with the most recorded amount of data breaches was Lancashire Constabulary, with 1,300 cases.
Here are the stations that recorded data breaches in 2020:
|Police Station||Data Breaches in 2020|
|Police Service of Northern Ireland||194|
|West Midlands Police||119|
|North Wales Police||89|
|Avon and Somerset Constabulary||86|
|City of London Police||5|
|South Yorkshire Police||2|
Data protection breaches are not always committed by cybercriminals, human error is also a cause for a compromise to private files.
Simply by sending the wrong information or file to the wrong person, data protection has been infringed.
VPNOverview’s David Janssen said: “Whether it’s cybercriminals or human error, unprotected documents are always at an increased risk of being compromised.”
“Sensitive information should always be encrypted, and strong cybersecurity measures should be taken to ensure information is protected.”
“Password protection and authentication processes can avoid and minimise the impact of human error. These systems can also make it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to documents that the police are trying to protect”.