Met Breach Could Leave Undercover UK Cops in Danger

( – Former Commander of Specialist Operations at Scotland Yard Roy Ramm is warning that a recent data breach made by hackers into a third-party contractor has left their entire workforce of 47,000 officers and support staff exposed with their personal information stolen.

In his former role, Ramm said that keeping officers safe “was my highest priority.” He further said that he experienced a “chill” upon learning that the breach had resulted in data being stolen, with many of their undercover officers potentially exposed, along with their families.

The contractor who was hit by the breach was responsible for printing staff passes and warrant cards and had access to the personal information of everyone on the force. The breach jeopardizes every undercover officer working in the UK, forcing their commanders to decide whether or not to pull them out of the field.

Ramm said they’ll have to examine each case and make a decision individually, as some situations are so dangerous that a quick exit could make things more dangerous. He said that many undercover officers infrequently report their whereabouts or activities, even letting them know they might be compromised could potentially endanger them.

An additional wrinkle in the breach is that data for the Royal Protection Squad who are assigned to protect VIPs were also exposed, leading to their policies and procedures to require an update.

Ireland experienced a similar breach in security after the personal data of roughly 10,000 staff working for the Police Service of Northern Ireland was released after officials mishandled a Freedom of Information request. Los Angeles cops sued the city after their personal data was leaked and posted online. The city maintains they had to release the data by law, the officers suggest a safety provision in the law they cited suggests otherwise.

Ramm said he hopes that the offender is just a bored hacker looking for a challenge, but until the perpetrator is caught there’s no way to know who was responsible. He highlighted the particular threat posed by organized criminal gangs who had access to this information. The possibilities are endless, but they could impersonate officers, engage in blackmail or extortion, or target their families.

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