Islington Council breach puts residents at risk

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Names and phone numbers of residents accidentally handed to gang members

The details of over 50 residents who complained about a group of people committing anti-social behaviour in their local area have mistakenly been passed onto the very gang members who they had reported.

Islington Council received a number of complaints regarding people gathering on the Andover Estate in Holloway, detailing how they had been smoking drugs, hurling abuse and playing loud music – but steps to address the issue have backfired.

In an attempt to respond to the initial reports, the Council looked to ban 13 people from the estate, with ten banning orders sent out earlier in the month.

Yet those who received the injunctions were also given call logs of the complaints, as well as the names and phone numbers of the residents who called to report the behaviour.

"This information should not have been released, and we are extremely sorry that, through an error on our part, it has been disclosed," said Louise Round, Islington Council’s corporate director of resources.

With the Information Commissioner’s Office now informed of the breach, police have stepped up patrols on the estate in a bid to reassure concerned residents and prevent their being targeted by the gang.

Had effective data protection protocols been in place at the Council, the details of complainants would have been properly secured and the risk of their names being exposed significantly reduced.

However, with those who have been banned from the estate as a result of the reports now aware of the people who highlighted their anti-social behaviour, the Council faces a tough task of regaining the trust of its residents.

Indeed, some may be less inclined to pick up the phone and report any illegal activity due to fears that their information will not be handled properly, and this could hinder any attempts to tackle such behaviour in the future.

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