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Magistrates' Courts: Salford

Justice written question – answered on 18th July 2013.

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Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how the theft of a network server from Salford magistrates' court in January 2012 took place; who stole the server; what the value of the server was; how it was recovered; what action has been taken against the thief; what documents were on the server; whether such documents (a) related to court staff, defendants, victims or witnesses and (b) included personal or confidential matters or matters related to evidence; what steps have been taken to inform those affected; for what reasons he believes that the information has not been accessed; for what reasons the theft was not reported to the police and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) until June 2012; when he expects the ICO to report; and if he will make a statement. [This section has been corrected on 2 September 2013, column 3MC — read correction]

Photo of Helen Grant Helen Grant The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities

The theft of a network server from Salford magistrates court occurred during the IT decommissioning process undertaken by contractors during the closure of the court. Following a police investigation, there was insufficient evidence to identify who stole the server and secure a conviction and no charges were brought. The estimated value of the server was £1,200.

The theft came to light on 3 May 2012 when the server was put up for sale on eBay still bearing the contractor's logo/asset tag. Arrangements were made by the contractor to recover the server on 9 May 2012. Once the facts were established, the incident was reported to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) on 14 June 2013.

Files recovered from non user-accessible areas of the server contained personal and sensitive data, including court documents and e mails, but a detailed forensic analysis and audit did not identify any access to the files during the time the server was not under the control of MOJ and therefore no action has been taken to inform those affected.

The matter is still under investigation by the ICO and we await their report.

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