MORE THAN 1,000 SECURITY INCIDENTS were recorded at the taxman’s Welsh offices, a Freedom of Information (FoI) request has revealed.
Breaches including staff injuries, threats from members of the public, official vehicles being stolen – along with mobile phones and security passes – and unauthorised disclosure of taxpayers’ information have made up the 1,135 recorded incidents dating back to April 2011.
The information was obtained in a FoI request by BBC Wales’ Newyddion Ar-lein website.
HM Revenue and Customs said it was taking the issue “very seriously” and has introduced a central security incident reporting system, although the TaxPayers’ Alliance said it was “very worrying”, reports the BBC.
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, was particularly dismayed over unauthorised disclosure of sensitive information.
He said: “HMRC has access to taxpayers’ most personal data and must ensure it is adequately protected.
“It’s utterly unacceptable for HMRC to disclose information without authorisation, so any such breaches of confidentiality must be investigated and those responsible held to account.”
The taxman said each incident was investigated locally by staff and business managers to “identify root cause and introduce new processes to reduce the likelihood of reoccurrence”.
“HMRC takes security of its assets, including staff, buildings and data, very seriously,” it said in a statement. “We encourage our staff to record all incidents so that we can identify deficiencies and drive forward improvements. This includes events where there has been an impact and those where an impact has not occurred but a potential weakness has been identified.”
The Revenue has offices in Bangor, Bridgend, Cardiff, Carmarthen, Colwyn Bay, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport, Pembroke Dock, Porthmadog, Rhyl, Swansea and Wrexham. It also has staff operating in other public buildings in Aberystwyth, Brecon, Cardiff, Haverfordwest, Llanelli, Pontypridd and Pontypool.
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