Blue Line

Victoria police notebook left in possession of suspected criminal for eight days

March 15, 2024  By The Canadian Press

Mar. 15, 2024, Victoria, B.C. – Police in Victoria say they are looking into digital alternatives after another lost notebook resulted in a privacy breach affecting 54 people.

The latest case happened in February when an officer serving a search warrant mistakenly left a notebook at the scene.

Police say the notebook containing the personal information of 54 people was in the possession of a suspected criminal for eight days.

“We conducted a risk analysis and have no reason to believe that there is risk to anyone whose information appeared in the notebook,” Cst. Terri Healy said in a written response. “We have notified them of this privacy breach, and out of an abundance of caution, provided personal and home safety tips to anyone concerned and will work with any concerned individuals to create a safety plan.”


Police say they have also notified B.C.’s Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner about the latest privacy breach.

The case follows a similar occurrence in December 2022, when another officer lost a notebook containing 60 names and 50 addresses for five days but did not report it as lost to Victoria police.

Investigators said they discovered that privacy breach three months later when the contents of the notebook were copied and circulated “among the criminal element of Greater Victoria,” with some information allegedly used to commit a criminal offence in Saanich, B.C.

The privacy commissioner’s office conducted an investigation into the 2022 privacy breach, resulting in the officer who failed to promptly report the lost notebook being found guilty of misconduct.

Police say the officer was disciplined with a verbal reprimand in that case.

Healy said Victoria police have since updated their policy requiring officers to report a lost notebook immediately upon discovery, and such losses are a “rare occurrence.”

“We do take precautions during search warrants including taking an inventory of police equipment, but in this case the notebook was not identified as missing,” she said of the loss reported last month.

“We recognize that incidents like this could be mitigated with technology, and we are actively researching a digital solution to paper notebooks in hopes of reducing the risk and impact of misplacement in the future.”

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