The Information Commissioner’s Office (‘ICO‘) has made a determination that Bedfordshire police have unlawfully used personal data.
The ICO said;
I have considered the information available to me in relation to this complaint and I am of the view that Bedfordshire Police has not processed your data in a fair manner and has therefore not complied with its obligations under data protection law in this instance.
My initial complaint to Bedfordshire police was that the processing of my personal data was unlawful.
I acknowledge that each complaint is assessed on its own merit and on face value, however it is clear from the readily available material that this matter was not as suggested within your original complaint. Notwithstanding the language that you use, which is considered to be exaggerated by suggesting that the disclosure was ‘unlawful’, this does tip the balance to an IOPC review right, as you have highlighted and this will be amended accordingly.
For the purposes of data protection law, ‘fairness’ generally means ensuring that an individual is made fully aware, wherever possible, of anything that is going to happen to their data which they would not necessarily expect.
Since Bedfordshire Police did not make you aware of their intention to pass your email on to another office, I am of the view that they have not processed your personal data fairly.
Further, Bedfordshire Police stated in an email sent to yourself on 1 October 2021, which I have attached, that they would not provide your personal details to anyone else for any reason. Considering this assurance, I am of the view that Bedfordshire Police should have fully informed you as to how your personal data was going to be used in this instance.
Bedfordshire PSD put it in writing that they ‘considered‘ I was exaggerating the fact that they acted unlawfully when they acted unlawfully. I was correctly referring to GDPR legislation and they had the audacity to suggest I was exaggerating what is published legislation.
The Bedfordshire police response also confirms that they incorrectly provided the incorrect appeal body, something police forces regularly do, allegedly to prevent the IOPC from becoming involved.
Now the ICO has stepped in and confirmed Bedfordshire police were acting unlawfully. This shows how the police will break any laws they see fit and even defend their unlawful actions and then try to blame the victim.