In a greater step towards transparency, South Yorkshire and Cleveland Police Forces have announced that they will publish full details of dismissals and resignations due to disciplinary circumstances on their websites.
Having raised several concerns about the level of transparency and accountability in the aftermath of data breaches this is a welcome step. Our research has shown that over a period of three years: 243 Police officers and staff from forces around the country received criminal convictions for breaching the Data Protection Act (DPA); 98 had their employment terminated for breaching the DPA; and 904 were subjected to internal disciplinary procedures for breaching the DPA.
Chief Constable David Crompton has said that he hopes that the new measures will show how seriously the Force takes transparency and integrity. He acknowledged that: ”The respect of the public has to be earned; by publishing the action taken against officers who do not meet the high standards expected by the public and the Force, we intend to show that South Yorkshire Police does not shy away from taking decisive and robust action.
We can hope that this measure will act as an additional means of ensuring that front line staff take the standards set down by the Force and the Data Protection Act seriously. Through such measures, it is hoped that it will hold those who do not abide by the rules to account and help improve standards. As a consequence we can hope that we will see a reduction in the small errors that can have a significant impact on people’s lives. Here is hoping that other police forces look at the example being set by South Yorkshire and Cleveland and swiftly follow their lead.