Alleged rape victim to sue police after officers lost package containing her personal details

Humberside Police has been fined for the data breach
Humberside Police has been fined for the data breach

AN ALLEGED rape victim is suing the police after officers lost a package containing her name, signature, health details and recorded video interview.

Two weeks ago, Humberside Police was fined £130,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office after losing an envelope containing three unencrypted discs as well as paperwork containing highly sensitive information about the case.

The package was meant to be posted to Cleveland Police, the force covering the area where the woman says she was raped, but disappeared after being left on an officer’s desk.

The victim now faces having to repeat her police interview, three years after the alleged attack.

Now the woman, who cannot be named but lives in East Yorkshire, is making a claim for damages, saying she was “devastated and disgusted” by what had happened.

She said: “Whatever Humberside Police say, they can’t for a second claim to have handled my case with any care and consideration.

"Details of my ordeal were thrown down on a desk and left like an old newspaper for anyone to come along and see every detail.

"I am now facing the prospect, three years on, of having to sit in an interview room and go through this all again. How can that be acceptable?”

Victims of sexual offences have a legal right to anonymity for life. The woman’s lawyer, Andrew Petherbridge, of Hudgell Solicitors, said the legal action would allege a breach of human rights and data protection laws.

He said: "Humberside Police may have offered an unreserved apology in this case but we certainly feel a thorough investigation is now needed. Serious questions have to be asked and answered. Lessons must be learned.

“Given the nature of allegations our client had made, and the serious implications of not only losing the case file, but not having taken the required steps to protect the information contained, serious questions must be asked over the protocol and procedures at the force, and what action is taken when officers failed to follow them.

“What has happened here certainly undermines that crucial level of trust people need in police forces when going to them with such serious and sensitive allegations."

Humberside Police declined to comment on the legal action but deputy chief constable Chris Rowley has previously said the force “deeply regretted” the distress caused to the woman and had since improved its data protection practices since the incident in 2015.