South Yorkshire Police apologises after wiping almost three years of body-worn video footage from their computer systems

South Yorkshire Police apologises after wiping almost three years of body-worn video footage from their computer systems

A significant loss of video footage has occurred within the South Yorkshire Police force, affecting body-worn footage from officers recorded between July 2020 and May 2023.

The force is scrambling to understand the circumstances behind this data loss and how it might impact ongoing cases.

The Extent of Data Loss

An estimated 69 legal cases might be impacted by the loss of footage, which was filmed as officers attended various incidents and interacted with the public.

South Yorkshire Police noted a “significant and unexplained reduction in data stored on its systems.”

There are no current indications that the loss is a result of a hacking attempt.

Reaction and Apology

South Yorkshire Assistant Chief Constable Rick Alton expressed deep regret over the incident, stating, “I am deeply sorry this has occurred.” T

he force has notified the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and is actively working to recover the lost data.

Efforts to Recover Data

The police force has assembled a team to manually check each potentially affected case and engaged digital forensic specialists to investigate the loss and explore the possibility of recovery.

Alton added that while they remain hopeful, “there are no guarantees.”

Implications and Concerns

Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings acknowledged the severity of the incident and its potential implications for victims, witnesses, and the criminal justice system at large.

He emphasized the urgency of understanding what had happened and taking measures to prevent future occurrences.

Other Recent Data-related Incidents

This incident follows other recent data-related controversies involving UK police forces, including the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s accidental release of personal data and Norfolk and Suffolk Police’s inclusion of private information in an FOI response.

Conclusion

The situation has caused significant concern among authorities, and investigations are underway to determine how and why the data was deleted.

The incident highlights the importance of robust data management within law enforcement agencies and the serious implications of data loss on the criminal justice system.

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