PSNI data breach: Almost 5,000 officers and staff in legal action

A woman officer
[PA Media]

Almost 5,000 Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers and civilian staff are involved in legal action following a major data breach.

The details of around 9,500 workers were mistakenly published in response to a Freedom of Information request last August.

The list included the surname and first initial of every employee.

It also included their rank or grade, where they are based and the unit in which they work.

The PSNI later said the information had got into the hands of dissident republicans.

The force had indicated that the data breach could potentially cost it £240m in security and compensation payouts to officers.

Belfast law firm Edwards & Co said it is representing almost 5,000 police officers and staff.

It said three test cases for a liability only hearing have been listed for 26 June.

'Encouraging progress'

The firm is one of the solicitors appointed by the court in a recent group litigation order.

Edwards & Co partner Philip Gordon said: "This decision by the High Court is very encouraging progress for our clients, who number almost 5,000.

"At the review hearing this morning [Friday] the court listed three test cases for hearing on liability only for 26 June 2024.

"The management solicitors have served a statement of claim in each of the cases and the defendant was directed to enter their defence within the usual six-week period.

"It represents very encouraging progress. Each claim will still have to be considered individually in terms of the appropriate damages, taking into account that each plaintiff will have been affected differently.

"It may therefore take some time after a liability hearing to deal with each individual case, but we are committed to getting every client the best possible result."