Man charged with 'possessing documents likely to be useful to terrorists' after PSNI data breach

A man has been charged with possessing documents in relation to last week’s major data breach at the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

In an error made by a junior member of staff when responding to a Freedom of Information request, personal data on all currently serving members of the PSNI was published last Tuesday.

Details released included the surname and first initial of every employee, their rank or grade, where they are based and the unit they work in.

On Saturday, the PSNI said that a 50-year-old man has been charged with possessing documents or records likely to be useful to terrorists and possession of articles for use in terrorism.

A 39-year-old man had also been detained in relation to the breach following a search in Lurgan, Co Armagh on Wednesday and was released on bail.

On Monday, PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne confirmed that the information from the data breach was in the hands of dissident republicans.

Mr Byrne said he believed dissidents would use the information to intimidate and target police.

Also on Monday, a document was posted close to the Sinn Fein office in the Falls Road, which included information about a substantial number of police officers and staff, although their names had been removed.

Multiple data breaches have come to light since last week, including the loss of a police officer’s laptop and notebook, which contained details of 42 officers and members of staff, after the items fell from a moving vehicle.

The man will appear at Coleraine Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

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