Police Federation

Data protection claims against PFEW

In March 2019, the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) suffered two separate cyber incidents.

As explained in more detail here, external cyber forensics specialists have confirmed that it is unlikely that any personal data was accessed or taken by attackers during those incidents and there continues to be no evidence of any real-world impact on our members, as communicated to members at the time.

A law firm called Keller Postman has threatened to bring claims against PFEW, on behalf of a number of our members. The firm claims that PFEW breached relevant data protection laws and that those members were caused significant distress as a result. They are therefore seeking compensation.

The claims are brought on a "no win, no fee" basis, which means that Keller Postman will only be paid in the event of success, it is typically the case that the lawyers will be paid before any money is paid to claimants.

We believe that Keller Postman has been advertising the claims in a misleading way, and potentially providing misleading information regarding PFEW's position to members. Detailed information regarding the claims being threatened and PFEW's position can be found here.

PFEW accept that members may be concerned that we suffered the cyber incidents in 2019, unfortunately, cyber-attacks are now a threat to all organisations. As a result, we have invested heavily in keeping our members' data safe through a new state-of-the-art IT system with a focus on cybersecurity.

Despite experiencing the cyber incidents, PFEW does not believe that members have a legal entitlement to compensation, or that it would be in the best interests of the membership as a whole for PFEW to pay any compensation on a voluntary basis, however, we respect the right of every member to bring a claim for compensation.

As our members know, PFEW is funded predominantly through member subscriptions. Sadly, the monies that the organisation is forced to spend on defending these claims may result in an increase in subscriptions in the future or reduce the vital services that we are able to offer our members. Further information on the potential impact of the claims can be found here.

One of PFEW's core aims is to represent and promote the interests and welfare of our members and we believe these claims to be against the interests and welfare of our membership as a whole. Our intention is to be as transparent as possible with our membership, in relation to both the cyber incidents and the claims to ensure our members understand the position being taken by PFEW.

If you have any queries, we have included answers to frequently asked questions here. Additionally, if you have any further questions, you can submit these via communications@polfed.org. We will endeavour to review every query and update our FAQs on the website where appropriate.

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