Police have launched an investigation after a dossier containing personal details of paedophiles and their victims were reportedly found dumped in a Hartlepool street.
Cleveland Police has confirmed it is investigating the incident after it was reported that a dog walker made the discovery next to a skip in a public road in the town.
Police say they take information security very seriously and are making contact with any people who have been directly affected.
The force has voluntarily referred the incident to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which has also said it is investigating how the dossier came to be found in a street.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) meanwhile has said it is “making enquiries” into the find.
Cleveland Police spokesman Will Green said: “We take information security very seriously and are making contact with those who have been directly affected.
“An investigation has been launched to determine exactly how this happened and we have referred the matter to the ICO.
“A voluntary referral has also been made to the IOPC.”
An ICO spokeswoman said: “Organisations have a legal duty to ensure that personal data is held securely.
“This is especially the case where sensitive information is concerned.”
They added: “We are aware of an incident concerning Cleveland Police and are making enquiries.”
An IOPC spokeswoman said: “We have begun an investigation following a referral by Cleveland Police.
“Our investigation, which is in its early stages, is looking at the removal and disposal of sensitive material from Cleveland Police premises.”