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EXCLUSIVE: Investigation called for after Ealing police breach personal data and share email addresses of more than 200 residents

Residents in Ealing are calling for a full investigation as to why police in the borough organising a meeting with more than 200 locals have shared personal email addresses of those attending.

The alarming data breach saw the personal details posted in an email about A New MET for London Event taking place on 8 August 2023 at University of West London.

The event is billed as “More trust, Less Crime, High Standards”.

In the communication sent at 11.06am on 7 August 2023 from a Met Police officer and using their email, the addresses of those registered to attend were shared in the To: field.

The email was sent by an officer from Norwood Green safer neighbour team in Southall and as well divulging everyone’s email address it also contained confirmation details on start time and how to get to the meeting.

One resident attending the event told EALING.NEWS: “How could they do this. Sharing sensitive and personal identifiable information about the event with others is unacceptable. We trust the police with our personal data and they don’t appear to treat it with the importance it deserves. Anyone can now use the email addresses.”

They added: “It would have been OK to send out the reminder but they way they did it doesn’t show standards expected. This needs to be investigated.”

Adding their concern about the data protection breach, @helphanwell told EALING.NEWS: “How could they do this? It really isn’t professional and this could be dangerous for some people who have given their email addresses in confidence for the event.”

Another concerned resident said: “We are told the police are looking to win back the trust of the public and then something like this happens. What if there is a vulnerable person and the police shared their email address like this to others?  It seems with this, the police are not showing a duty of care on how they hold and treat our personal information.”

Speaking to EALING.NEWS about the bungled email, Neil Reynolds, chair of Ealing Green Party said: “This is an obvious breach of data, and will discourage engagement with the community in the future, which is bad for all of us.”

Previously talking about the event and others happening across London in other boroughs, Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said: “I care deeply about this mission and I’ve been candid from day one about the scale of reform needed to make it a success. Our people want to better serve the public and have been calling for change. We want the public to trust in the work we’re doing, to see how we’re fighting crime in their communities and how we’re keeping people safe.”

On its website, the Metropolitan Police say: “We take our data protection responsibilities seriously and pay a fee to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Our registration number is Z4888193. We take great care to ensure we process your personal data properly to maintain your trust and confidence.”

In a reply to EALING.NEWS on what happened. Met Police Superintendent Sean Lynch, Ealing Borough, Neighbourhoods and Partnership has said he has done the following when he was informed about the email:

  • “Called an officer to investigate what actions they have taken today and seek an explanation
  • “Ensured local Professional Standards Department have been informed
  • “Reported a data breach via the MPS online reporting tool
  • “Brought to the attention of the on-call Senior Leader
  • “Updated the West Area BCU Police Commander”

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