Kent Police fined £100,000 for leaving sensitive interview tapes behind at former Gravesend station

Kent Police fined £100,000 for leaving sensitive interview tapes behind at former Gravesend station

Kent Police left sensitive interview tapes in the basement of the former station in Gravesend.

Stephen Eckersley said Kent Police's oversight was "difficult to understand".

First published in News
Last updated
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Kent Police has been fined £100,000 after highly sensitive interview tapes were found abandoned in the basement of a former police station in Gravesend.

Other confidential information, including records going back to the 1980s, was left at the Windmill Street site after the building was fully vacated in July 2009 - a year after officers moved to the new North Kent Police Station in Thames Way, Northfleet.

The information was discovered when a police officer was visiting a business owner about an unrelated matter on November 27, 2012 and noticed a pile of tapes with the Kent Police logo on them.

The business owner confirmed he had found the tapes in the basement of the old police station, after purchasing the site two months before, and was planning on watching them for entertainment.

The force has now been fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office for what head of enforcement Stephen Eckersley called a "clear lack of oversight".

He said: "If this information had fallen into the wrong hands the impact on people’s lives would have been enormous and damaging.

"These tapes and files included extremely sensitive and confidential information relating to individuals, many of whom had been involved in serious and violent crimes.

"How a police force could leave such information unattended in a basement for several years is difficult to understand.

"Ultimately, this breach was a result of a clear lack of oversight, information governance and guidance from Kent Police which led to sensitive information being abandoned."

Hundreds of documents and evidence tapes were recovered including recorded interviews with informants, crime victims and individuals who had subsequently been convicted.

The documents also included information about police staff.

The ICO’s investigation found Kent Police had no guidance or procedures in place to makes sure personal information was securely removed from former premises.

A Kent Police spokesman said: "It is unacceptable for police property to have been left at the site of the former station in Gravesend following the move to North Kent Police Station in July 2008.

"Since this was reported in 2012, Kent Police has reviewed its policies to ensure all documentation and files containing personal information are dealt with appropriately and in compliance with Data Protection legislation.

"In addition we have now implemented new procedures when vacating police premises.

"After the discovery of the loss of data from the former police station, officers quickly retrieved and secured all documentation and property belonging to Kent Police.

"No sensitive information was lost or further disseminated."

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Comments (3)

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12:39pm Thu 20 Mar 14

sarfflondonbird says...

How irresponsible of the police force to not thoroughly check every nook and cranny for potential dangerous information/evidence to be left behind. Good job this was not in the boroughs of Greenwich and Lewisham. Imagine the uproar there would be. Not only would there be evidence of racism within the police force and at present newly discovered, corruption to deal with, but the incompetence of staff that leave vital material lying around for anyone to get their hands on would no doubt warrant an investigation,public paid of course.
How irresponsible of the police force to not thoroughly check every nook and cranny for potential dangerous information/evidence to be left behind. Good job this was not in the boroughs of Greenwich and Lewisham. Imagine the uproar there would be. Not only would there be evidence of racism within the police force and at present newly discovered, corruption to deal with, but the incompetence of staff that leave vital material lying around for anyone to get their hands on would no doubt warrant an investigation,public paid of course. sarfflondonbird
  • Score: 15

2:09pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Gypo.Joe says...

Think about it, just who pays the £100000 fine. US !

Heads ( and pensions ) should roll.
Think about it, just who pays the £100000 fine. US ! Heads ( and pensions ) should roll. Gypo.Joe
  • Score: -26

5:30pm Thu 20 Mar 14

HearTheFacts says...

So Kent Police have been fined £100.000. So this is indeed evidence that the police are a 'for profit organization'.

The police statement, I read as a big joke!. Could it be the Key Stone Cops in action here?. What a bunch of idiots, well leave the evidence there!. No one will know, how much other such files are missing?.

It may be a good idea to check, all former Kent Police sites. Along with lockers, hidden rooms, do the lot!.

A cover up yes!.
So Kent Police have been fined £100.000. So this is indeed evidence that the police are a 'for profit organization'. The police statement, I read as a big joke!. Could it be the Key Stone Cops in action here?. What a bunch of idiots, well leave the evidence there!. No one will know, how much other such files are missing?. It may be a good idea to check, all former Kent Police sites. Along with lockers, hidden rooms, do the lot!. A cover up yes!. HearTheFacts
  • Score: 22

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