PSNI: Leaked Data Will be Used to Target Police Officers

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Sensitive details of 10,000 Northern Ireland police officers and staff are in the hands of paramilitary groups, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has confirmed.

The data, which was accidently released last week, will be used by Dissident Republican groups to intimidate or target officers and staff in the service, PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne said on  August 14.

Byrne added that the PSNI “are working round the clock to assess the risk and take measures to mitigate it.”

The BBC has reported that a document allegedly displaying the breached information was posted on a wall in West Belfast, along with a threatening message.

Liam Kelly, Chair of the Police Federation of Northern Ireland (PFNI), a union representing rank and file officers in the region, urged all Northern Ireland police officers and staff to exercise maximum vigilance following the update from the Chief Constable.

“Since this major data breach, and subsequent breach, the PSNI was operating on a working hypothesis that the information on all police officers and staff would end up in the hands of dissidents and organized criminals.

“The Chief Constable’s announcement therefore comes as no great surprise. However, it makes it all the more imperative for each and every colleague to exercise maximum vigilance. We must do all we can to frustrate and prevent attacks on our colleagues and their families,” he commented.

The data was published in error on a Freedom of Information (FoI) website on August 8, revealing the surnames and initials of current employees in the service, their rank or grade, and the location and department they work in.

This includes highly sensitive areas like surveillance and intelligence, raising concerns around the safety of police officers and their families.

In March 2023, the UK government raised the threat level for Northern Ireland-related terrorism from ‘Substantial’ to ‘Severe’ due to an increase in the targeting of police officers in the region.

Read here: Fresh Blow to PSNI Security as Second Data Breach Disclosed

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