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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

West Cumbrian police officer suspended

A West Cumbrian police officer has been suspended from duty after being arrested on suspicion of committing offences under the Data Protection Act.

The officer was arrested on August 31, along with another West Cumbrian man,who was also arrested under suspicion of committing offences under the same act.

A spokeswoman for Cumbria Constabulary said: “Two men, aged 41 and 61, were arrested on August 31 on suspicion of committing offences under the Data Protection Act.

“They assisted police with their enquiries and have been placed on police bail until November 2 while the investigation continues.

“One of these men is a serving police officer based in West Cumbria and he has been suspended from duty while the police investigation is carried out.”

The purpose of the act, which came into force in 2000, is to protect the rights and privacy of individuals and to ensure that data about them is processed only with their knowledge and consent.

The act covers any data about a living and identifiable individual and aims to ensure that people handling personal data comply with eight data protection principles.

These include requiring data to be fairly, lawfully and securely processed, accurate, not kept longer than necessary and processed in accordance with the subject’s rights.

Criminal offences created by the act include:

l Unlawfully obtaining, disclosing, or procuring the disclosure of personal data;

l Selling, or offering to sell, personal data which has been unlawfully obtained;

l Processing personal data without notifying the Information Commissioner (and other offences related to notification);

l Failing to comply with an enforcement notice or an information notice, or knowingly or recklessly making a false statement in compliance with an information notice;

l Obstructing, or failing to give reasonable assistance in, the execution of a search warrant.

The act details a number of civil and criminal offences for which data controllers may be liable if they fail to gain consent from a data subject.

Usually, prosecutions under the act are brought by the Information Commissioner.

A person found guilty of offences under the act is liable, if the case is heard by magistrates, to a fine not exceeding £5,000, or on Crown Court conviction, an unlimited fine.

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