Data Privacy Violation Leads to Criminal Conviction for Former St Helens Borough Council Officer
A former family intervention officer at St Helens Borough Council, Anderton of Haydock, Merseyside, was sentenced on the 11 September 2023 for unlawfully accessing social services records. An internal council audit found that Anderton had accessed the records of 145 people whilst employed in the department. Before disciplinary proceedings commenced, Anderton resigned from his position. Appearing before Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court, Anderton pleaded guilty to one offence of unlawfully obtaining personal data, in breach of section 170(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. He was subsequently fined £92.00 and ordered to pay court costs of £385.00 and a victim surcharge of £32.00. Andy Curry, Head of Investigations at the Information Commissioner’s Office stated that this sentencing should serve as a warning that they are committed to taking action against those that abuse their position of trust and flout privacy laws. People have a right to expect that their sensitive information will be treated with the utmost respect and any violation of these rights can bring serious consequences such as criminal conviction, loss of employment and severe damage to future career possibilities.