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PSNI investigate loss of laptop and notebook as man arrested in probe following major data breach

PSNI detectives this morning carried out a search in the Dungiven area of Co Derry.

LAST UPDATE | 18 Aug 2023

THE POLICE SERVICE of Northern Ireland is investigating the loss of an officer’s laptop and notebook.

The material is believed to have fallen from a moving vehicle on a stretch of the M2 motorway yesterday afternoon at around 4.15pm. 

While the laptop was immediately deactivated and has since been recovered, PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Chris Tods said “sections of the notebook remain outstanding”.

“Enquiries are underway to establish the contents of the notebook,” said Todd. 

He added: “We will be liaising with the Office of the Information Commissioner and have advised the Northern Ireland Policing Board and the Department of Justice.

Todd appealed for anyone with information or who recovered any material to contact the PSNI. 

The investigation into this lost material follows an arrest this morning by detectives investigating criminality links to last week’s major PSNI data breach. 

The surname, initial, rank or grade and work location of PSNI employees were accidentally published in response to a Freedom of Information request and available to the public for several hours last week. 

The PSNI detectives this morning carried out a search in the Dungiven area of Co Derry. 

During the search, a 50-year-old man was arrested under the Terrorism Act.

He is being questioned by detectives at Musgrave Serious Crime Suite. 

“We continue to work toward establishing those who possess information relating to last week’s data breach, and will take action to ensure that any criminality identified is dealt with robustly to keep communities, and our officers and staff who serve them, safe,” Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Hill said. 

Earlier this week, a 39-year-old man was detained following a search in Lurgan, Co Armagh as part of the same investigation.

He was questioned on suspicion of collection of information likely to be of use to terrorists, and later released on bail to allow for further police enquiries.

Dissident republicans reportedly published redacted information from the data breach on the wall of a library in Belfast to prove they are in possession of the sensitive material on Monday. 

-With additional reporting from Diarmuid Pepper

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