The first public sector employees are waking up to the fallout from the leaking of the BNP membership list yesterday.
Although the list was removed from its original blog home it has reappeared at several mirror sites, on bittorrent and on Wikileaks. Wikileaks uses encryption to protect its sources and is widely distributed across legal jurisdictions, making it all but impossible to get documents removed. Efforts to put the genie back in the bottle are now likely to be fruitless.
Meanwhile the list is being pored over by anti-fascists and hacks who have found several government employees, police officers and serving soldiers.
A Merseyside police officer is on the list.
Merseyside Police said: "We are very clear - membership of the British National Party is totally incompatible with the duties and values of the police service and Merseyside Police. We will not accept a police officer or police staff being a member of BNP.
"Meanwhile, as a matter of urgency, we have immediately started an investigation into all aspects of this case. We will be keeping an open mind until all of the facts have been established."
The Home Office supported this statement: "As the Association of Chief Police Officers has made clear, it is not permitted for any member of the Police Service to be a member of or promote the British National Party. We fully support that position."
The list also contains an entry apparently for a serving member of the Army, former and serving prison officers and several teachers.
But any action taken against people for their political affiliations could backfire. Although the BNP is blustering over where the list came from and how it got into the wild there could be a "fruit of the poison tree" defence - in effect the evidence was obtained illegally therefore any action taken on the basis of that evidence would also be tainted.
A spokeswoman for Dyfed Powys Police told The Register it had received a complaint from the BNP and was in the early stages of investigating it.®