The Daily Record reports:
Jun 9 2009 By Stephen Stewart
A HUNGRY security guard left highly sensitive files at risk while he went in search of a McDonald's.
The nightwatchman quit his post at the Customs centre in Dundee and propped open a door so he could get back into the building as he had no keys.
Why was a night watchman left on his own in a building, without any keys ?
He then took a hire car that was left on the premises for the use of Customs staff and drove off in search of fast food.
The guard - who sneaked off at 1.30am on May 30 - even picked up a friend and went for a joyride.
But at 6am, he handed himself in at a police station, telling officers he'd taken the car without permission.
It was only then that the security breach came to light - prompting an investigation by Customs bosses.
The HM Revenue and Customs contact centre in Dundee is home to millions of confidential tax files which would be rich pickings for identity thieves.
The centre, employing 800 people, is in Sidlaw House and owned by property firm Mapeley, who are also responsible for security.
A Customs insider said yesterday: "It is one of the most bizarre things I have ever heard of. Management are obviously very embarrassed by this and have been trying to keep it very hushhush for obvious reasons.
"Mapeley are supposed to call hourly through the night to check on the lone security guard and send someone to the site if there is no reply.
A lone security guard, for millions of tax records, who then leaves the building unlocked and unguarded for several hours ?
That is unprofessional and probably criminally negligent.
It certainly breaches the 7th Principle of Data Protection, as per the Data Protection Act 1998 Schedule 1:
7 Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.
"There must have been several calls with no reply but no one attended."
It is understood Mapeley sub-contracted shifts to another smaller, local firm.
The entire Mapely and HMRC chain of management need to be investigated for criminal offences under the Official Secrets Act 1989 section 8 Safeguarding of information which specifically applies both to civil servants and their private sector sub-contractors:
8 Safeguarding of information
(a) being a Crown servant, he retains the document or article contrary to his official duty; or
(b) being a government contractor, he fails to comply with an official direction for the return or disposal of the document or article,
or if he fails to take such care to prevent the unauthorised disclosure of the document or article as a person in his position may reasonably be expected to take.
Hamish Drummond, of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: "The guy who disappeared was apparently normally a bouncer at a nightclub. There needs to be an overhaul of security."
A Revenue & Customs spokeswoman said: "HMRC are consulting with Mapeley."
A spokeswoman for Mapeley said: "We are aware of the incident which is now the subject of a police investigation."
A police spokesman said: "A 25-year-old man from Dundee was charged with road traffic offences. A report has been sent to the fiscal."
Mapely are a Guernsey (i.e.tax haven ) based property management company, which owns and then leases back and manages most of the outsourced offices and buildings used by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and the Home Office's Borders and Immigration Agency, including the Passport / ID Card interrogation interview centres.
This points to an obvious, serious security risk, that the computer and telecommunications and biometric equipment within these Interrogation Centres will be illegally tampered with or sniffed and intercepted.
To be fair, on current performance, even Ministry of Defence armed guards, would not guarantee that such tampering or interception could never happen in the future.