back to article Randy plods plundered police records just to get a date

Checking out women "for sexual purposes" was just one of the ways Welsh police have breached people's data protection rights. Having all that knowledge at their fingertips proved too much for some in Wales' four police forces, leading to 85 recorded breaches since 2006, the BBC found out in a Freedom of Information request. …

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I really do admire what the police stand for..

However, i DONT admire how they flout the law. Assumiong they,as moral bastions, have an automatic right to pry.

Sorry, but thats a big no-no.

However, no doubt the ICO will spit fire (well, steam at most) and we will all end up back where we started..

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As part of their job they have to access such information. It's part of how they detect crimes and solve them.

This shows that the checks and auditing built into the system is working.

What more can the system do? do you really want more red tape in the system? forms completed in triplicate before each access to the database?

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FAIL

Checks and audits

No it does not show they are working.

It shows that some individuals have been caught. It does not indicate the scale of the problem, it does not demonstrate what fraction of probable violations have been identified.

It is this sort of wooly thinking that allows organisations to make use of a few cases to 'demonstrate' they are doing something and pull the proverbial over everyones eyes.

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FAIL

3.5% success rate

Actually since only 3 dirty cops got fired/retired out of the 89 breaches I'd say the 'checks and auditing' is not working.

I would see a zero tolerance policy on police corruption.

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Anonymous Coward

@Thomas 18

If you think that a minority of police looking up people's details on their database is corruption, then police in this country must be doing pretty well. Look around the rest of the world and at what they call police corruption.

No, it's not right, but it is found out, reported and the people involved are disciplined.

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Childcatcher

"... friends of their daughters"

As someone with a teenaged daughter, I have to admit that I felt a definite burst of empathy when I read that.

I don't condone it, of course, but... can certainly understand it!

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Devil

Well, there is a vetting process for that...

http://wilk4.com/humor/humorp3.htm

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Big Brother

Rock and a Hard Place

I imagine it is likely that a copper would also get sacked if their partner or housemate turned out to be a criminal. So, some method of them doing background checks would seem reasonable. I suppose they could ask their potential partners/housemates to apply for their own CRB checks, but it'd hardly be a great start to a trusting relationship, eh?

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Facepalm

logic failure...

I don't know whether knowing someone with a criminal record is a sackable offence, but knowing someone who should get a criminal record seems to require action as part of the job.

What I really found curious is that you thought not asking a potential partner to do a CRB check because you'd done one behind their backs was a good start to a trusting relationship.

They just don't know (yet) that they don't have a trusting relationship.

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Anonymous Coward

Between a rock and their own stupidity

They don't need to. That's what the vetting section is for. The hypothetical copper is contractually obliged to notify his HR department of a change of circumstances, who will then carry out the checks if this change involves someone moving in.

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FAIL

why should

the be sacked unless they were aiding and abetting the criminal? Any evidence that (for example) a traffic cop gets sacked every time his/her partner breaks the law?

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People

cannot apply for their own crb check.

Nor for one for their friends/relatives.

Unless they are an employer.

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WTF?

@JohnMurray: Nonsense!

Of course you can apply for your own CRB check:

- http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Startinganewjob/DG_195811

@The other down-voters: My bad for daring to suggest that the Police might have more of a need to check the background of potential partners than the rest of us. Obviously I was wrong. I guess when everything is on Facebook such checks will be unnecessary anyhow.

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Devil

Any guesses...

... about the number of breaches that were detected but not recorded, and/or the overall detection rate?

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That information

is not assessed as far as I know in this context. In more rigorous environments in which intelligence os gathered and stored there is some work to do exactly this.

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Holmes

What is telling

is the phrase 'recorded'. In common with many public sector datasets (the NHS for example), policing records in the UK are notoriously leaky, a combination of (some) technology limitations but more frequently because of process limitations (the frequent sharing of IDs and the ability for even a relatively naiive officer to hide requests - especially when mass enquiries are being run). A philospohical AND technical rethink is required if this is to be really tacked.

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The most looked up potential girlfriend

Dolly

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Big Brother

ddim i'w ofni, dim byd i'w guddio

yep.

(Thanks to Google Translate)

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Anonymous Coward

About as expected

Plod /are/ human (obligatory *cough* but anyway). This is only those they've caught. And that's where they have a department to ferret out this sort of thing. Which is not the case in commercial outfits, where instead they have pressure to monetize all that lovely data. And it points to a fundamental weakness in data hoarding: If you have it, it'll get used, this way or that way.

We really need better ways to "not-store" sensitive data, along with ever improving access and audit controls.

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baa

they have sheep on a database?

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Trollface

Only

for protection of minors. Sheep at risk - we are given to understand there have been problems in the past and the police need to be proactive.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Big Al

"As someone with a teenaged daughter, I have to admit that I felt a definite burst of empathy when I read that.

I don't condone it, of course, but... can certainly understand it!"

Because you fancy your daughter's girlfriends? Probably not what you meant but you see there are divers possibilities.

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AC@11:14

"Because you fancy your daughter's girlfriends? Probably not what you meant but you see there are divers possibilities."

You sir (or madame) win this weeks Richelieu prize.

Nice work.

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criminal?

If this were a criminal offence then the police could improve their detection rate quite easily.

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@Sam Liddicott

The detection part would be easy but the disincentive is that they would have to prosecute and then find their fellow officer not guilty thereby reducing their conviction rate.

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Headline

Headline should read:

"Randy Welsh plods plundered police records just to get a date"

because this is about Welsh police only.

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Holmes

People with access to private information tend to abuse that access

Only politicians *ever* seem surprised at this.

It's an abuse of *trust* which (no matter how much they hate to admit) the public have to have in the police for them to do their job.

Now suppose one of those police persons was actually more of a rapist and looking for people with a history of (say) drink offenses and were viewed as an unreliable witness, or as their attacker would view them "perfect" victims. Note I've made no comment on the gender of the attacker or the potential victim.

BTW North Wales has a fairly extensive history of sex offenses against boys in council care homes.

None of them got investigate until *very* late in the day.

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Patterns of Behaviour

How do you detect that someone has misused an information system containing personal details.

If you date someone who has a "Security" role, you will have your background checked as soon as the relationship is declared. If your past is seriously dodgy then your partner will be asked to choose between you and their job.

For those that have access to the systems, they are going to check you first, to save problems further down the line, not least being hurt. It's natural.

So if you check out a girlfriend, or have a mate do it for you, you actually won't get caught, as how do you determine a single lookup is wrong, without having someone vet every single lookup. The people who do get caught are those who systematically abuse the system with frequent lookups, or those who are stupid enough to admit they checked out their partner, and then dump them.

To actually police these systems to the level some seem to feel appropriate would take a huge amount of effort, and you probably wouldn't have any Police officers left. You only want to catch those misusing for criminally or fincially corrpt reasons, oh and those who use it as eHarmoney for cops.

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