Wednesday, 2 December 2015

When Data Protection fails

When does Data Protection cease to be in the interests of those it claims to protect?

Well, let me tell you a little story ...

Today was book launch day for me so Mr Misfit and I headed to our lovely local pub on Putney Common with The Alfie Dog for a quick lunch and a glass of wine.  As we crossed the common we spotted two lads on a scooter chucking (what I thought was) a bag of rubbish.  Grumbling and complaining about their lack of consideration for our environment, we approached it. It was only when we got closer that we realised that it was a hand/baby changing bag. Once we realised that the bag contained a purse, bank cards and car/house keys it was too late. The little b*stards had done a runner before we could get their number plate.

SO ... off we headed to the pub where the young barmen were very helpful, offering the phone and advice.

Far more helpful than the police when we called 101.

'We don't deal with lost property.'
Erm, it's not lost property, it's clearly a theft (or possibly a mugging and the poor woman could be bleeding to death somewhere?!)

Furthermore, they only took details of where the bag had been dumped and OUR contact numbers - not the victim's name or address, which was on her driver's licence.

We then asked if they could contact her via the DVLA, knowing they have access to their records.
Really?  Wouldn't that make sense? Give her a call, put her mind at rest and stop her cancelling her cards or having her house locks changed?

OK. So, following their guidance (I use that word loosely), we called NatWest and asked if THEY could give her a call.  We were then told that they could only report her card as stolen.  Even when we explained that we didn't expect for them to give us her number, all we wanted was for them to contact her and say we had her bag, bank cards and HOUSE keys - with her ADDRESS - we hit a brick wall.


It seemed easier to head to  her house - basically giving up on a world that has gone PC to the point of obstruction.

No-one home.

Left a note and our mobile number.

Eventually we received a call from a police constable who told us that he was with the lady who was terrified that the b*stards might have broken in to her home with her house keys. No sh*t, Sherlock!

To cut a long story short, we have now delivered the bag back to the frazzled mum and, had the system worked more efficiently, she might not have had QUITE such a crappy day.  She told us that the police were just leaving her house and telling her that she'd need to have all the locks changed, at considerable expense, when she just happened to see our note in the letterbox.

She called us her 'angels'.

If it wasn't for 'angels' like us and if the bag had fallen into the wrong hands, the police and the banks would have been partly responsible for the possible outcome. Surely authorities should act while the trail's still hot and realise they have it within their power to shorten the victim's agony by reuniting them with their precious belongings as quickly as possible and prevent any further angst.

God help us if the man in the street has more common sense than those whose duty it is to 'protect' us.