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World News

Catholic police officers demand urgent meeting over NI data breach

by Sophie Drew

The body that represents Catholics in the Northern Ireland police force has called for a “full response” over concerns that a data breach will impact recruitment.

Earlier this week, a data breach resulted in the details of police officers in the PSNI being published online.

A number of groups are claiming they have access to the leaked information, prompting safety concerns for members of the force.

Chief Constable Simon Byrne's apologised but says he won't resign.

However, the chairman of the PSNI Catholic Guild, Superintendent Gerry Murray, has called for an urgent meeting with Chief Constable Byrne over fears the breach will put Catholics off joining the force.

He says many Catholic members of the force have reached out with “genuinely held concerns” over their own safety.

"Our guild was formed to provide a support service within the PSNI for Catholic members, and to raise issues which impact on their work within the PSNI," he said.

"It is hard to think of a more pressing issue for Catholic officers and staff than the data breaches which have come to light this week. Everyone understands the particular difficulties faced by Catholic members of the PSNI and indeed the implications of this for potential new recruits from the Catholic community.

"Our members have expressed genuinely held concerns over the release of this information, they are worried for themselves and in many cases for their family members. As Chairman of the Guild I am also concerned about the impact on future recruitment of young Catholics into the police service.

"We are seeking an urgent meeting with the Chief Constable and senior colleagues and we want to be assured that the data breach will be fully and quickly investigated and procedures put in place to ensure it cannot happen again."

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