Greater Manchester Police officers have warrant card details stolen in major data hack

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Greater Manchester Police officers have reportedly had their warrant card details stolen in a major data breach, the Manchester Evening News (MEN) has reported.

The newspaper reported the hack was aimed at a third-party company employed to produce its warrant cards and comes in the wake of a similar attack on the Metropolitan Police in London last month.

The force, which deploys more than 8,000 police officers, has confirmed information about its employees held by one of its suppliers had been subjected to an attack.

Financial details and home addresses are believed not to have been retrieved but that data obtained from warrant badges such as names, ranks and photographs may have been accessed, according to an email sent to GMP staff seen by the MEN.

The National Crime Agency is understood to be investigating.

Incident being ‘treated extremely seriously’

Assistant Chief Constable Colin McFarlane of Greater Manchester Police said: “We are aware of a ransomware attack affecting a third-party supplier of various UK organisations, including GMP, which holds some information on those employed by GMP.

“At this stage, it’s not believed this data includes financial information.

“We understand how concerning this is for our employees so, as we work to understand any impact on GMP, we have contacted the Information Commissioners Office and are doing everything we can to ensure employees are kept informed, their questions are answered,  and they feel supported.

“This is being treated extremely seriously, with a nationally led criminal investigation into the attack.”

It comes just weeks after the Metropolitan Police announced it was investigating a suspected data breach after “unauthorised access” was gained to the systems of one of its suppliers.

The contractor was understood to have had access to names, ranks, photos, vetting levels and pay numbers for all of the force’s 47,000 officers and staff.

The Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents 30,000 staff, warned the data breach could cause “incalculable damage”.

Rick Prior, the organisation’s vice chairman, said the force had been made aware of the potential dangers of outsourcing operationally sensitive material to third parties years before.

PSNI data breach

While in Northern Ireland, officers had their data published last month in what has become the biggest security leak in the province’s history.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) declared a “critical incident” after a junior employee published online the data of all 9,276 serving officers and civilian employees, including dozens of staff who work with the British intelligence services.

Some officers were forced to leave their homes with the scandal ultimately costing the force’s chief constable Simon Byrne to quit after politicians said they had lost confidence in him.

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