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Norfolk magistrates' details sent to a prison

PUBLISHED: 06:30 21 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:36 02 July 2010

Ben Kendall

Norfolk magistrates have called for reassurances over the security of their personal details after it emerged their phone numbers were accidentally sent to a prison.

Norfolk magistrates have called for reassurances over the security of their personal details after it emerged their phone numbers were accidentally sent to a prison.

The magistrates' year book, containing names and phone numbers of JPs from across the county, were sent for printing at HMP Standford Hill, in Kent.

The Category D prison includes a workshop where supervised prisoners take on printing work. It has been in possession of the details since the beginning of this month. The year books are normally printed at a different location.

Paul Allen, chairman of Norwich magistrates, said he was not personally concerned about the leak because, as a local businessman, his details were already in the public domain.

But he added: “There will be some newer magistrates who are nervous about this and had our addresses been included like they were in the past, this would be of far greater concern.

“If a criminal is particularly determined to find out where one of us lives, they will be able to do that. On the whole they don't seem to hold a grudge against us and most feel they've been treated fairly.

“But this does raise questions about what precautions are in place to keep people's personal data safe. The consequences may not have been dire on this occasion, but it could have been far more serious.”

Another magistrate said: “I'm ex-directory and have been for years as a precaution against this kind of thing. I've not heard of any problems so far, but it does potentially compromise security.”

Her Majesty's Courts Service's (HMCS) area director has written to all magistrates to say he is "desperately sorry". Hard copies of the document at the prison have now been destroyed.

Security procedures have been tightened to ensure the mistake does not happen again, a spokesman for HMCS said.

A HMCS spokesperson said: "HMP Standford Hill is a Category D prison and the workshop, which is supervised at all times, is staffed by prisoners assessed as low risk.

"All hard copies and electronic copies of the document at the prison have now been destroyed.

"The screening process for documents to be printed at the prison workshop has been made more secure to ensure this does not happen again."

Have you been the victim of a data blunder? Call reporter Ben Kendall on 01603 772423 or email ben.kendall@archant.co.uk

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