Man Arrested in Connection with PSNI Data Breach

Detectives investigating criminality linked to a major PSNI data breach have arrested a man on suspicion of collecting information likely to be of use to terrorists. The 39-year-old man was detained after a search in Lurgan, Co Armagh and is currently being questioned by detectives at Musgrave serious crime suite in Belfast.

Last week, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) revealed that a document containing the names of approximately 10,000 officers and staff had been mistakenly shared online in response to a Freedom of Information request. The released details included surnames, first initials, ranks or grades, base locations, and work units of the employees.

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne stated that he believed the information was in the hands of dissident republicans. Concerns for officers’ safety have been raised, especially since the threat level in Northern Ireland is currently assessed as severe, meaning an attack is highly likely.

In response to the data leak, Archbishop Eamon Martin, the Catholic Primate of all Ireland, expressed his concerns to Mr. Byrne and offered his support for all those who serve as police officers or civilian support workers for the PSNI. He emphasized the importance of respect and support for policing, stating that the future of peace and prosperity across the island of Ireland depends on it. He also encouraged young people from the Catholic community to consider a career in policing and called on the community to reject those who would intimidate or threaten those who choose the noble vocation of policing.

Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Hill assured the public that the PSNI is working tirelessly to address the risk posed to officers and staff. He stated that the recent search operation and subsequent arrest are part of a larger-scale operation aimed at disrupting criminal activity associated with the data breach and ensuring the safety of communities and the police force.