Metropolitan Police officers are harbouring “real safety concerns” after a company holding their personal data suffered a suspected cyberattack.
The force said that the contractor, which is understood to have printed warrant cards, held the names, ranks, photos and vetting levels of police officers.
All 47,000 staff employed by the Met were informed of the incident. It has been reported to the National Crime Agency, which is yet to open a formal investigation.
Scotland Yard said it was working with the unnamed company to find out if its data had been accessed during what it described as a “security breach”.
Experts said that the incident appeared to be a “a targeted attack to test the security within the supply chain”.
Rick Prior, vice-chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents the rank and file, said that the leak could do “incalculable damage”.
He said: “Metropolitan Police officers are — as we speak — out on the streets of London undertaking some of the most difficult and dangerous roles imaginable to catch criminals and keep the public safe.
“To have their personal details potentially leaked out into the public domain in this manner — for all to possibly see — will cause colleagues incredible concern and anger.”
He added: “This is a staggering security breach that should never have happened.”
Prior said that the potential breach was a “real concern” for officers carrying out sensitive roles, such as those working undercover.
The data held by the targeted company did not contain more sensitive personal information of Met staff, such as phone numbers, addresses and financial information.
A National Crime Agency spokesman said: ““We are aware of the incident and we are working with law enforcement partners to understand the impact.”
The security breach follows a series of embarrassing episodes for UK police forces in recent weeks concerning staff data.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland admitted that personal data on all its serving members was mistakenly published in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
Details of about 10,000 PSNI officers and staff included the surname and first initial of every employee, their rank or grade, where they are based and the unit they work in.
Norfolk and Suffolk Police announced the personal data of more than 1,000 people — including crime victims — was included in another FOI response.
(Source: The Times)