What is the current position?
We have been in discussions with the legal representatives for the PSNI. Liability has not been formally conceded, but we do not believe that it will be in dispute.
An application has been made to the High Court in relation to how to deal with the claims, and our Counsel appeared before the Court on 8 December 2023, along with other representatives. Some progress has been made in agreeing a way to handle the claims and the Court listed matters for further review on 19 January 2024.
What is the next step for me?
If you are a PFNI member, the Police Federation has sent out a questionnaire to all members who have registered with them for assistance from Edwards & Co. We would ask that you take some time to complete and return the questionnaire to the Police Federation who will in turn pass it securely to us.
If you are not a PFNI member, you should have received a questionnaire directly from Edwards & Co. We would ask that you take some time to complete it and return it directly to us.
What if I haven’t received a questionnaire?
Firstly, please check your junk mail and spam folders to check that the email is not there.
If not, and if you are a PFNI member, please contact the PFNI to check that you are registered. Some questionnaires sent by the PFNI to external email addresses have been delayed for technical reasons and should be sent out in the next week or so. We would in any case suggest you contact the PFNI to check you are registered.
If you are not a PFNI member and you have not received a questionnaire, please contact us directly via email at email@example.com, or by calling our office and speaking to Philip Gordon, Reece Lockhart or Rachel Powderly.
What about the recent offers mentioned by the PSNI?
We are aware that TDCC Todd sent an email to all officers and staff on 8 December 2023 in which it was suggested that the Chief Constable would be making some form of offer to all affected by the data breach. We are also aware of the comments of the Chief Constable to the NIPB on 11 December 2023 to the effect that every PSNI officer and staff member will be offered a one-off payment of £500 to help with home security measures, albeit that this offer is ”yet to be finalised”.
We have corresponded with the solicitors for the PSNI and can confirm as follows:
- the “universal offer” mentioned by TDCC Todd is “universal” in the sense that it has been made to every individual affected by the data breach;
- the “universal offer” and the £500 mentioned by the Chief Constable before the NIPB are one and the same thing;
- the offer is without prejudice to any legal claim made by any of those affected against the Chief Constable and without any admission of liability;
- acceptance of the offer will not compromise or prevent any individual from bringing a claim for compensation, save that if any individual intends to claim special damages for financial loss in respect of the cost of installing physical security measures/equipment at their home, the PSNI will require the recipient to acknowledge in writing, before accepting the offer, that the amount of the universal offer will be set off against that special damages claim; and
- the universal offer is being made to every individual whether or not that individual has incurred any expenditure in respect of security measures/equipment and is not dependent on a needs assessment.
What about the independent review?
You may have heard that the independent review into the data breach entitled “Protection from Within” has now been published. It is available here: https://www.psni.police.uk/about-us/independent-review
Having reviewed the report, we remain firmly of the view that liability cannot reasonably be disputed by the Chief Constable. How do I contact you if I have any queries? If you have any queries from time to time, please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling our office and speaking to Philip Gordon, Reece Lockhart or Rachel Powderly.
We will also continue to provide regular updates via the Police Federation and online.