A Guide To Claiming Compensation After A Police Data Breach

In this guide, you will learn the circumstances in which you could claim data breach compensation if you suffered because of a police data breach. We will discuss the possible causes of personal data breaches. You’ll also find out how you could take advantage of a No Win No Fee arrangement.

police data breach

police data breach

The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) sets out the principles that organisations should follow when processing or storing personal data. The UK GDPR is implemented by the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO can impose penalties on organisations that breach data protection laws.

We have a dedicated team of data breach advisers that are available to help you. Simply request a callback by filling out the form on the top right-hand corner of your screen. Additionally, you can chat with our specialist advisers through the following:

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  1. Can I Claim Compensation For A Police Data Breach?
  2. How Much Could I Get For A Data Breach By A Police Force?
  3. What Is A Police Data Breach?
  4. How Long Have I Got To Claim Data Breach Compensation?
  5. Could I Have A No Win No Fee Agreement?
  6. Further Guidance On Police Data Breach Claims

Can I Claim Compensation For A Police Data Breach?

Under UK GDPR, you have the right to claim for a data breach settlement if you have suffered financial loss or psychological harm as a result of an organisation breaching data protection laws. You must also be able to prove that the organisation’s wrongful conduct caused the data breach. For example, their online security may have been substandard, allowing a cyberattacked easy access to your personal data. 

A personal data breach occurs when a security breach leads to personal information being unlawfully or accidentally:

  • Lost; or
  • Destroyed; or
  • Accessed; or
  • Changed; or
  • Disclosed.

A personal data breach may be categorised into three types:

  • A confidentiality breach involves someone accessing or disclosing personal data, either accidentally or without a lawful reason; 
  • An availability breach leads to the loss of access or the destruction of personal data and can occur accidentally or deliberately;
  • An integrity breach happens when personal data is altered through accidental or unauthorised means.

Types Of Personal Data

The ICO defines personal data as information that relates to and identifies an individual. 

Personal data that is more sensitive, and therefore requires extra protection, is defined as special category data under the UK GDPR. For example, police may hold the following special category data:

  • Your biometric data for ID purposes, such as your fingerprints
  • Your genetic data, including your DNA
  • Data surrounding your sexual orientation 

Police may also hold criminal offence data on you and that regards any information on your criminal convictions and offences, including allegations, investigations and proceedings. This also requires extra protection. 

Furthermore, if making a police data breach claim, alongside having suffered, you must be able to show that there has been some form of positive wrongful conduct on the authority’s part. 

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How Much Could I Get For A Data Breach By A Police Force?

Using potential compensation ranges taken from the 16th edition (April 2022) of the Judicial College Guidelines, a document used by solicitors to value injuries, we are able to estimate how much you could receive for non-material damage. This head of damage relates to psychological harm you could claim for, including anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

InjuryCompensation RangeNotes
Severe Psychiatric Damage£54,830 to £115,730You may struggle with relationships and your quality of living will be badly affected.
Moderately Severe Psychiatric Damage£19,070 to £54,830Symptoms may render you unable to work.
Moderate Psychiatric Damage£5,860 to £19,070The prognosis is more optimistic but you will still struggle with some aspects of your life.
Less Severe Psychiatric Damage £1,540 to £5,860The prognosis is much better although you may struggle with sleeping.
Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£59,860 to £100,670All aspects of your life are negatively affected, including your ability to work.
Moderately Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£23,150 to £59,860Significant disability is likely to be an issue for the foreseeable future.
Moderate Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£8,180 to £23,150You are likely to recover with only minor symptoms continuing.
Less Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£3,950 to £8,180A full recovery will be made within two years at most.

Elements Of A Data Breach Claim

Another head of damage you may claim for is material damage and that covers any financial losses you have incurred as a result of a personal data breach. Material damage may include:

  • Loss of earnings: A data breach may cause you to suffer from PTSD, resulting in you taking time off work. You could use wage slips as evidence of loss of earnings.
  • Financial losses: For example, if cyber criminals steal your biometric data from a police force, they may use this data to coerce money from you. Bank statements may prove any illegal or unauthorised transactions.

Previously, it was only possible to claim for non-material damage if you’d suffered material damage as well. However, following Vidal-Hall v Google Inc 2015, the Court of Appeal ruled it is reasonable to claim for non-material damage without suffering financial loss. Our advisors can offer free legal advice on what damages you might be able to claim.

What Is A Police Data Breach?

To help you understand what a potential police data breach could look like, we will use this section to go through examples of data breaches.

  • A failure to redact: Organisations should redact personal information where needed; for example, the name of a witness in a published crime report may need to be redacted.
  • Force system misuse: Police officers may have access to the Police National Computer and the Force Intelligence Systems. If officers access computer systems for unauthorised use, or for reasons outside of work, they may access sensitive personal data. 
  • Loss of ID cards: If a police officer loses their ID card, someone could impersonate them, therefore posing a significant risk to the public and the reputation of a police force.

2022 ICO Statistics

The ICO produces a quarterly report looking into the latest data security incident trends. The most recent statistics (4th quarter of 2021/22) found that:

  • Local governments reported 218 incidents
  • The legal sector reported 141 incidents
  • Central government identified 37 incidents
  • The justice sector reported 35 incidents

If you fear you have evidence of a valid claim, you can speak to our team for free legal advice now. You can connect to an advisor by using the live chat feature that pops up on your screen.

How Long Have I Got To Claim Data Breach Compensation?

Under the Limitation Act 1980, you have six years to claim data breach compensation; however, you have just one year if the claim is against a public body. 

With strict time limits in place for making a police data breach claim, you should consider seeking legal advice at the nearest opportunity. Our advisors may put you in touch with a data breach solicitor from our panel, but only if you have proof of a valid claim.

Could I Have A No Win No Fee Agreement?

Everyone should be able to get the compensation they deserve and no financial barrier should stop you from seeking legal representation. You might therefore consider using a No Win No Fee agreement to fund a solicitor’s services without incurring hidden costs or paying an upfront solicitor’s fee. 

A No Win No Fee solicitor will outline the costs with you before beginning legal proceedings; therefore, you’ll know exactly what would happen if your claim is successful. If the claim does succeed, the fee you pay for your solicitor’s services would come from your compensation and is legally capped at 25% under the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013. You won’t have to pay this fee at all if the claim loses. What’s more, our panel of solicitors could, under certain circumstances, reduce this percentage if you’re connected with them after getting in touch. 

Get Advice On How To Claim Compensation For A Police Data Breach

Our panel of data breach solicitors offer No Win No Fee agreements for every claim they accept. Our advisors can verify if you have a valid claim and may connect you to a solicitor from our panel. Use the following methods to connect with our team about police data breach claims:

  • Get instant help using our live chat function
  • Call 0800 408 7827 
  • Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation

Further Guidance On Police Data Breach Claims

You could now be one step closer to getting the data breach compensation you could be owed. Before we let you go, we want to share some additional resources that may help you.

We also have our own guides:

We have come to the end of our guide on what you could do after a police data breach. We hope you understand the basics of the claim process and feel ready to take your next steps.

Publisher Ruth Vernon

Writer Lewis Julius