Police Federation

Member compensated after sensitive and confidential information leak

The successful personal injury claim was funded by the Federation and pursued by Setfords.

14 February 2023


In April 2015 the member’s close family member, who was also a serving PCSO in her force at the time, was arrested and charged in connection with a serious crime. She found this deeply distressing and it caused her to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression.

In 2019, a co-worker disclosed sensitive and confidential information about her without good reason or lawful authority, with the suspected intention of creating a hostile working environment for her. She was signed off work due to depression and migraines related to the 2015 incident, and in February 2020 she was informed of this confidentiality breach which exacerbated her symptoms.

The member submitted a Fairness at Work grievance. The investigation took six months to conclude, and, although the co-worker admitted the allegations, no breach of ethics was upheld.

She was informed the grievance investigator had further disclosed a copy of the grievance to the co-worker whom this was regarding, without her consent. It had been made repeatedly clear this was a confidential document. This caused further distress and she had to delay her planned return to work.

She appealed her Fairness at Work grievance outcome. The appeal found the co-worker had breached the standards of professional behaviour and the investigator had breached GDPR by disclosing medical information.

Setfords were instructed to investigate a possible personal injury claim and a letter of claim was submitted to the force. Afterwards, the member received an email from an HR business partner who stated they had further breached her confidentiality by emailing her appeal report to two colleagues on 18 February 2021 by mistake.

She was further informed by Information Compliance that a blue book which contained sensitive information about her had been left in the office and then handed into the duty inspector for safe keeping. The member understood that a number of colleagues had looked through the book before it was handed in and would have had access to her personal data.

A letter of response was received admitting liability for the majority of the data breaches and the claim settled before any court proceedings were issued.

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