Confidential files found in street

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The Independent Online

An inquiry has been launched after a confidential police file containing the personal details of a teenage rape victim was found in the street.

The dossier was found by a dog walker in Blackpool, Lancashire, and was understood to have contained the girl's photograph, her age, address, phone numbers and school.

It was also said to have referred to the sexual assault suffered by the teenager - who had been reported missing to the police - and the name of the person who carried it out.

The man found the 'Missing Person' stapled document on Lancashire Constabulary headed notepaper in North Drive, Anchorsholme, on Saturday morning.

He later brought it to the attention of his local newspaper.

The man told the Blackpool Gazette: "It's scandalous. I'm appalled so much confidential information has been left on the street.

"What if a paedophile had got hold of it? This is about a vulnerable girl who has gone missing and there are her personal details for everyone to see.

"There are accusations about members of the public and what they are suspected of."

Lancashire Constabulary has launched an internal probe into the incident surrounding the girl who has since been found safe and well.

Inspector David Old, operations manager for central Blackpool, said: "I have commenced an internal inquiry to establish how these documents have come into the public domain but until I have got further on with the inquiry I am keeping an open mind as to how the paperwork has fallen into the hands of the public.

"It's likely there will be a look at procedures and if there is a lesson to be learnt procedurally from this, we will."

A spokeswoman for the Information Commissioner's Office said: "We have been informed of a possible data breach which may involve Lancashire Constabulary.

"We will be making enquiries into the circumstances of the alleged breach of the Data Protection Act before deciding what action, if any, needs to be taken."