The DVDs in questioned contained an interview with a victim of child sex abuse, but, despite this sensitive and graphic content, they were left unencrypted in a desk draw.
The recording took place in August 2011 and the loss was discovered during an office move in 2011 but it went unreported for nearly two years.
The ICO claims this happened because of lack of training – while the DVDs were stored in a secure part of the Police station, there was no specific force-wide policy in place to deal with the safe storage of victim and witness interviews.
Although the defendants were eventually convicted in court, a second interview had to be abandoned due to the victim’s distress.
“Without any doubt we would expect a professional Police force, in a position of trust, dealing with this type of highly sensitive information from victims and witnesses on a daily basis to have robust procedures to keep track of the personal data in their care,” claimed Assistant Commissioner for Wales Anne Jones.
“The organisation has failed to take all appropriate measure against the unauthorised processing and accidental loss of personal data.
“This breach is extremely serious and despite guidance from our office, the Ministry of Justice and Association of Chief Police Officers stating it is essential to have a policy on storing this sort of information they still haven’t fully addressed the issue.
“The monetary penalty given to South Wales Police should send a clear message that organisations have to take responsibility for personal data and the way in which it is stored,” she added.
Alongside the monetary penalty, the ICO has asked South Wales Police to sign an undertaking designed to ensure that changes are made to implement policies which stop such incidents happening again.