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Security alert over cop files theft

PUBLISHED: 11:55 24 June 2010 | UPDATED: 11:48 23 August 2010

AN investigation launched after confidential documents were stolen from the boot of a police officer s car has found safeguards must be improved. The paperwork belonging to the Kent Police officer was found dumped in a street the day after the theft and

AN investigation launched after confidential documents were stolen from the boot of a police officer's car has found safeguards must be improved.

The paperwork belonging to the Kent Police officer was found dumped in a street the day after the theft and handed in to a nearby station.

Kent Police has since disciplined the officer but the force has refused to say where the incident happened, or when, and the rank of the officer involved.

Assistant Chief Constable Allyn Thomas said: "An officer made a mistake by leaving confidential documents in a locked briefcase that was stolen from the secure boot of his car.

"He has been the subject of disciplinary action and has received further training regarding data protection.

"As a result of this incident we have also re-examined our policies and procedures to ensure this does not happen again."

Documents were stolen from the car while it was parked overnight at a residential address. An investigation by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) found the officer had not used his secure briefcase to transport the papers, nor had he been provided with secure storage at his home.

The ICO report states Adrian Leppard, temporary Chief Constable of Kent Police, had now signed a formal undertaking to ensure all staff carrying confidential information are provided with secure transportation and storage facilities.

Sally-anne Poole, enforcement group manager at the commissioner's office, said: "It is essential that police forces ensure the correct safeguards are in place when storing and transferring personal information, especially when it concerns highly confidential information."

She explained that a lack of awareness of data protection requirements can lead to personal information falling into the wrong hands.

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