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'Spend police USB stick data loss mega-fine on IT lessons for cops'

Tough on data leaks, tough on the causes of data leaks

A six-figure fine levelled against police for losing a USB stick of drug probe suspects' details should be spent on training cops to take better care of sensitive data. That's the view of a candidate standing in today's police commissioner election in Greater Manchester.

Last month the county's police force was fined £120,000 after the unencrypted drive was nicked from an officer's home. The device contained information on more than 1,000 people linked to serious crime. The money has been paid by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to the Treasury.

Matt Gallagher, a Liberal Democrat candidate for the Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester, wants the cash reimbursed to allow GMP to spend it on ISO27001 accreditation, training and security products. Gallagher also wants reassurances from top cops that there is no danger of data falling into the wrong hands.

"I would also appeal to the Information Commissioner to use his discretion and require GMP to invest some of this massive fine in assisting the force to provide security training and technical measures to ensure this incident isn’t repeated, including ISO27001 information security compliance and endpoint control," he said.

"This is public money, it should be used as usefully as possible."

Gallagher, a former police inspector, is standing for election against Tony Lloyd, a former Labour Party MP and three other candidates: Conservative Michael Winstanley; Steven Woolfe of the UK Independence Party; and Roy Warren, an independent, are also vying for election in Manchester.

Elections for US-style police commissioners are taking place across England and Wales today. There's are widespread concerns of low voter turnout and criticism of the election process: political hacks with large central party campaign machines are canvassing against independent candidates.

The role will replace the police authority panels - historically made up of elected councillors - currently in charge of 41 forces in England and Wales. The Mayor of London is already tasked with a similar overseeing role in London, so elections will not take place in the capital. ®

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Thanks to Reg reader Dave Page for the tipoff.

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