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Overtis secures protectively marked Police files

Overtis , vendor of VigilancePro, user activity management software, has announced a new Protective Marking feature to identify files that hold confidential information. The new feature has been developed in response to requests from UK police forces, to help them to comply with Management of Police Information Guidance published by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Several instances of deliberate or accidental loss of protectively marked police files have been reported to the Information Commissioner in the past twelve months:

In June 2010, a senior police officer was convicted of accessing databases at Greater Manchester Police and the Police National Computer and passing confidential details to two businessmen.

In April 2010 an employee of Gwent Police accidentally emailed an unencrypted document to a journalist after the auto-complete feature included him among the recipients. The spreadsheet contained confidential records on 10,000 people who had undergone a Criminal Records Bureau check, revealing the names and dates of birth of 863 people who had been in trouble with the police.

In September 2009, a Metropolitan Police officer admitted accessing the Police National Computer to obtain information on his former girlfriend’s new partner.

In August 2009 a civilian employee of Essex Police admitted that he sold mobile phone records after accessing police intelligence databases 800 times.

Protective Marking is the UK system of classifying documents according to the Government Protective Marking Scheme (GPMS) identifying the level of harm or impact that would be caused if they were disclosed to other states or external parties. The system is used throughout central and local government and the Critical National Infrastructure, to ensure that sensitive information is safely handled, stored and transmitted.

Overtis VigilancePro allows Police Officers and Staff to classify files, including documents and spreadsheets, as well as emails, according to the GPMS five levels, which are -Protect, Restricted, Confidential, Secret and Top Secret. Documents that contain information in the public domain are labelled -Not Protectively Marked.

VigilancePro can also be customised easily to include any Force specific descriptors. Additionally, the software allows whitelists to be created for different email classification levels, ensuring that emails marked as -Confidential- cannot be sent outside of the pnn.police.uk domain, for example.

Overtis VigilancePro writes the appropriate classification into the metadata of the file. This can then be picked up by other security systems, such as email gateways, to enforce encryption of attachments, in line with policy.

VigilancePro provides a full audit trail of classification events, with reporting that can underpin the processes for Review, Retention and Disposal of Police Information under MoPI guidelines.

Commenting on the inclusion of protective marking within VigilancePro, Ed Macnair, CEO of Overtis said, -Police forces have to collect a lot of information on citizens as part of their normal enquiries. This data must be safely handled to protect the privacy of individuals. Protective marking within VigilancePro helps to ensure good data governance throughout the force, while still allowing officers to access and share information, to enable them to carry out their duties.

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