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Data leak families in Islington will be rehoused

PUBLISHED: 06:30 03 May 2012

Cllr Terry Stacy Pic: Dieter Perry

Cllr Terry Stacy Pic: Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

Six families are set to be rehoused and at least one resident has suffered verbal abuse after a massive blunder by Islington Council resulted in the personal details of conscientious residents being given to yobs terrorising an estate.

Last week, council staff passed details of 51 people, many of whom had complained about antisocial behaviour (ASB) on the council’s flagship ASB hotline, to 10 thugs who had been causing trouble on the Andover estate, off Seven Sisters Road, Holloway.

The gang, who had been smoking drugs and abusing passers-by, now have the names, street names and phone numbers where given of the residents, after the information was inadvertently attached to injunctions banning them from the estate.

Police activity has been stepped up on the Andover, but many victims of the breach are from other areas.

Ann Claire, who lives in Mildway, was told on Friday her details, including her witness statement, had been leaked.

She said: “I am absolutely disgusted with the council. You try to be a good citizen and this is what you get.

‘‘Even if I saw a murder now I wouldn’t report it.

“People are in fear for their lives over this – the council is supposed to protect us. Labour should do the decent thing and resign – they should be ashamed of themselves.”

An expectant single mother with a one-year-old child living on the Marquess estate in Islington, has been left terrified to return home after details of a report she made about an elderly couple being attacked were leaked.

She is now living with a relative in the hope the council will move her urgently.

She said: “I’m really scared, I’m scared to even go back to my house to pick up my belongings – I have to have someone with me.

“It’s really dangerous, some people around here don’t have any morals and I just can’t go back.”

The council said five of the six families requesting a move were from the Andover.

Islington’s Liberal Democrats said residents had already suffered repercussions and verbal abuse for being “grasses”.

Cllr Terry Stacy, leader of the group, said: “This is a totally shocking breach of data protection by Islington’s Labour council. Hundreds of residents’ lives are now potentially at risk.

“This is a blunder of epic proportions and heads should roll. It has dealt a fatal blow to resident confidence in the council.”

The Information Commissioner’s office told the Gazette it had received eight complaints about Islington Council in the past year and has launched its own investigation.

The maximum fine for breaching the data protection act is £500,000.

Brian Paddick, Lib Dem candidate for today’s (Thurs) mayoral election, who started his police career at Holloway station on the Andover, said: “This is staggering incompetence from the Labour council. We can only hope this does not put innocent residents at risk of repercussions.

“I fully back the local Liberal Democrats’ calls for a public inquiry into how a blunder of this scale could have happened.”

Louise Round, corporate director of resources at Islington Council, confirmed an internal investigation began on Tuesday to find out what happened.

She added: “Police officers will continue to patrol the estate until the end of the May Bank Holiday weekend and the out-of-hours ASB team will continue to prioritise the area.

“No serious ASB incidents have been reported over the weekend on the estate and none of these individuals have been seen there since the exclusion orders were issued.”

Cllr Catherine West, leader of the council, said: “It’s unforgivable and I quite understandable if residents have lost trust in the council. But we are doing all we can to build up trust, that’s why Cllr Convery and I are on the Andvoer this morning (Wednesday) talking to people.

“We have stepped up police activity, which the council are paying for.

“To date there have been not been any requests for legal action, but we know this kind of mistake leaves us open to costs.

“It’s huge mistake and we unreservedly apologise.”


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