Police forces in the UK have been responsible for 2,315 data breaches over the past five years, according to Big Brother Watch.
The civil liberties campaign group said in the Safe in Police hands? report that the breaches happened between June 2011 and December 2015.
Over 800 police staff accessed personal information during the period that was not necessary for police use, and much of the data was shared inappropriately with third parties, the report claimed.
The organisation said the findings are deeply worrying.
"The findings of the report reveal a number of types of data breach from improper disclosure of information, accessing police systems for non-policing purposes, inappropriate use of data and accessing data for personal reasons," said the report.
"Data is the driving force of society now, and any of the examples highlighted pose a threat to the privacy and security of individuals.”
Examples include a Manchester officer alerting someone to their imminent arrest, presumably giving them time to escape, and an officer from South Wales photographing and disseminating restricted documentation for personal gain.
However, no disciplinary action took place in 55 per cent of the incidents.
Understandably, Big Brother Watch doesn’t think this is fair and wants the officers taken to task and sentenced for breaching data protection rules.
The hope is that taking a hard line will stop police stealing data, despite the irony of the situation.
The organisation also wants the police to alert people to a data breach within 90 days of its being investigated.
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has fined police forces on numerous occasions, including a recent penalty of £150,000 after an email that could have identified eight sex offenders was mistakenly sent to a member of the public.
The incident was just the latest in a long line of data loss incidents at UK police forces over the years.
The ICO fined South Wales Police £160,000 after a DVD data loss in 2015 and Greater Manchester Police was fined £120,000 after the theft of an unsecured USB stick containing details on over 1,000 people in 2012.
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