Woman wrongly linked to PSNI on poster fears she has been made a target

An “outraged” woman who was wrongly linked to the PSNI on a poster erected in Co Londonderry has said she believes she has been made a target for an attack.

In a statement released through her solicitor, the unnamed woman said she is not a police officer and has never been employed by the PSNI in any capacity.

Police have launched an investigation after the poster was placed in a bus shelter in Dungiven on Thursday.

A PSNI statement on Friday said the poster contained details of “three serving officers”, but a supplementary statement released several hours later said the information on the poster was incorrect.

The force confirmed on Saturday that the woman has no current or historic links to the PSNI.

The poster was placed in the shelter weeks after the details of about 10,000 officers and staff were mistakenly released online in a major PSNI data breach.

Police confirmed on Saturday that two arrests had been made as part of an investigation into criminality linked to the data breach.

In a statement released through Madden and Finucane solicitors, the woman said: “My personal information was written on the poster that was put up in Dungiven that linked myself, my partner and two other named individuals to the PSNI.

“I live in a small rural village and everyone in the area who has seen the poster thinks that it is referring to me, although everyone would know that I am not a police officer.

“I can categorically clarify that I am not a serving police officer and I have never been employed by the police in any capacity.

“This is just plain wrong and I am outraged that I have now potentially been made a target for an imminent attack on my life.

“I am left deeply upset and concerned about the situation and am disappointed that the PSNI refused my request to issue a statement confirming that I am not a police officer.”

Lawyer Michael Madden
Lawyer Michael Madden (Madden & Finucane Solicitors/PA)

Solicitor Michael Madden said: “The PSNI initially stated that those named on the poster are serving police officers.

“My client has been identified as being one of those named on the poster however she is not a serving officer and never has been.

“The PSNI have since issued another statement to confirm that the information on the poster is inaccurate, however it does not state what information is inaccurate.

“My client does not feel that the latest PSNI statement goes far enough to allay her concerns for her safety.

“I have contacted the PSNI and hope to find a resolution that protects our client’s safety and well-being.”

PSNI data breach
Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd said the incident in Dungiven was an attempt to initimidate police (Liam McBurney/PA)

A PSNI spokesperson said: “We will not usually discuss the security of individuals but on this occasion I can confirm that the person raising these concerns has no current or historic links to the police service.

“This is one of a number of inaccuracies in the information contained in the poster.”

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd said on Friday that the incident in Dungiven was “a clear attempt to intimidate police officers, staff and their families”.

Last month, details of officers and staff, including the surname and first initial of every employee, their rank or grade, where they are based and the unit they work in were released in response to a freedom of information request.

The PSNI has confirmed the list is in the hands of dissident republicans, who continue to target officers.

Detectives investigating criminality linked to the freedom of information data breach carried out a search in the Portadown area on Saturday.

A PSNI spokesperson said two men, aged 21 and 22, have been arrested under the Terrorism Act and taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite for questioning.

Detective Chief Inspector Avine Kelly said: “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.”