Leaked list of suspected gang members ended up in hands of rivals
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Newham Council has been fined £145,000 after confidential information about more than 200 suspected gang members ended up in the hands of rival groups.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found that in January 2017, a council employee sent an email to 44 people that contained both redacted and unredacted versions of the gangs matrix - a police intelligence database.
The recipients included members of the council’s youth offending team and external organisations - with the email contaning information such as home addresses, dates of birth and the alleged associated gang of 203 people.
The ICO found that between May and September 2017, rival gang members had obtained photographs of this information - from the unredacted version of the gangs matrix - via social media app Snapchat.
Some victims of serious gang violence that year were people who featured on the matrix.
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These included 14-year-old Corey Junior Davis, known as CJ, who was shot dead in Forest Gate in September 2017. News of the leak emerged as part of a serious case review into his death.
The ICO said that it was not possible to say whether there was a causal connection between the violence and the data breach.
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Deputy commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone said: “Our investigation concluded that it was unnecessary, unfair and excessive for Newham Council to have shared the unredacted database with a large number of people and organisations, when a redacted version was readily available.
“The risks associated with such a transfer of sensitive information should have been obvious.”
The investigation also found that Newham Council did not report the data breach to the ICO and that their own investigation only began in December 2017, some months after they were aware of the breach.
Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz apologised on behalf of Newham Council, saying: “I accept the seriousness of the unredacted gangs matrix list being distributed on this single occasion in January 2017 and am sorry that it happened.
“The Information Commissioner has recognised that the breach was not deliberate and we welcome that.”