The Information Commissioner's Office ("ICO") has levied a £200,000.00 fine against the Crown Prosecution Service ("CPS") after laptops with videos of police interviews on them were stolen from a private film studio.
The laptops held interviews with 43 victims and witnesses involving 31 investigations almost all of which were ongoing and were of a violent or sexual nature. Some of the interviews were to do with an ongoing investigation relating to a high-profile individual.
The company in possession of the laptops was providing the CPS with an editing service from a residential flat which it used as a studio. On 11th September 2014 the flat was burgled and both laptops were stolen. The flat didn't have an alarm installed and had insufficient security in place, The laptops were password protected but weren't encrypted.
The laptops were recovered by the police eight days after they were stolen. The Information Commissioner considers that the laptops had not been accessed between the time they were stolen and when they were recovered.
The ICO ruled that the CPS had been negligent in its failure to ensure that the videos were kept safe and that the CPS did not take into account the substantial distress which would be caused if the videos were lost.
By Daniel Gardener
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