Data breach: Complaining neighbours’ details given to Harold Hill tearaway’s mum
PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 February 2016 | UPDATED: 09:18 12 February 2016
A data protection blunder has resulted in personal details of neighbours who complained to police about a teenage tearaway being given out – to his mum.
The 230-page file involves names, addresses and phone numbers of the residents who gave statements about the 16-year-old, as well what they said.
The Harold Hill woman was given it by mistake ahead of an anti-social behaviour court hearing by a solicitor employed by Havering Council.
The document also contains names and addresses of 17 other teens being monitored, dozens of emails between police and council officers about the case and copies of letters sent to parents of other naughty teens in the area.
It also identifies a “drug address” in Harold Hill.
The council has now apologised to all involved and is investigating the data breach, but the woman said the file has caused her major distress.
“Not even half of the information should have come to me,” she said. “I’m not a violent person but had this got into the wrong hands these people’s lives would not be worth living.
“When they gave these statements it was meant to be confidential. I just think it’s bad, I don’t care about the Asbo.
“They’ve really messed my head up giving me this.
“I’ve been crying everywhere. They’ve made me out to be really horrible, saying I don’t take this seriously. I’m trying my best to help my son.”
One neighbour whose details were shared questioned how it could possibly have happened.
“That statement was done in confidence with police,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been let down. I could have had a brick through my window if it was someone else.”
A council spokeswoman said: “There was a breach of data during the conduct of this case by the solicitor instructed by the council.
“The council has met with and apologised to the people affected by this and is investigating the circumstances around the incident to ensure it cannot happen again, as is the solicitor.
“The council will be reporting the breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office.”