Three laptops, containing the payroll and pension details of more than 15,000 Met Police officers, have been nicked from the offices of LogicaCMG, the outsourcing firm that handles the payments.
It's unclear whether or not sensitive details stored on the laptops were encrypted even though the Met Police describe the risk of identity posed by the loss of the laptops as "minimal", the BBC reports.
A man has been arrested on suspicion of the burglary, which took place in LogicaCMG's offices in south-east London last Thursday.
Despite the arrest, the loss of laptops containing sensitive details of half its workforce is something of a cause of embarrassment for Scotland Yard.
Organisations really need to be asking themselves whether laptops really need to contain sensitive personal data like payroll details and if so what procedures and policies they should have in place to guard against this type of threat," said Donal Casey, security consultant, at IT consultancy Morse.
The theft of the Met Police's PCs follows news of the theft of employee laptop containing customer details from a worker at Nationwide, the UK's largest building society. Nationwide's 11 million customers began receiving letters this week about the security breach, the result of a burglary that took place back in August. It's unclear how many customer records might have been exposed by the theft. Nationwide is seeking to calm fears by saying data on the laptop, which was been used for marketing purposes, was "security protected". Police are investigating the case but are yet to make any arrests. ®