UK: Police accused of cover-up over theft of video interviews with abuse victims

This is one of those really terrible breaches that are the stuff of nightmares.

Brendan Carlin reports:

Vulnerable victims of sex crimes have reacted with panic and fury after highly sensitive videos of their police interviews were stolen in an ‘unacceptable’ breach of security.

The theft of computers containing the statements sparked disbelief among witnesses when they were informed of the break-in.

And police were accused of trying to cover up the incident by asking those affected to keep quiet about it.

The recordings were being edited by a private firm in Greater Manchester for the Crown Prosecution Service.

Read more on The Daily Mail. The computers were recovered and supposedly had not been accessed, but this was an extremely serious breach and raises obvious questions about not only what security protections the firm had in place, but the extent to which the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had written security measures into any contract with the firm, and whether CPS monitored the firm for compliance with any security protocols.

Today, Paul Britton provides an update:

The data protection watchdog will launch an investigation after sensitive interviews given to police by alleged sex abuse victims were stolen from a flat, the M.E.N. can reveal today.

Footage of video statements from dozens of alleged victims were stored on files on two Apple iMacs and a lap-top that were stolen during a break-in at a flat on Wilmslow Road in Rusholme.

They were in the possession of video-editing firm Swan Films, which has a contract with the Crown Prosecution Service to edit footage ahead of court hearings and trials.

The CPS said it would be asking the firm for an ‘urgent explanation’ of what security measures were in place.

Read more on Manchester Evening News.

Jon Baines discusses the data protection aspects on Information Rights and Wrongs.

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