There has been a major data breach involving officers and civilian staff of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), PA understands.

The breach reportedly involves names, ranks and other personal data, but does not involve the officers’ and civilians’ private addresses, it is understood.

The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that a spreadsheet was published online relating to how many officers the PSNI has of each rank, but that the spreadsheet had a second tab that contained more detailed information about thousands of staff members and their employment.

It says that this information was mistakenly posted online for a period of time.

Alliance Party leader and former Justice Minister Naomi Long said that the scale of the data breach was of “profound concern”.

SDLP policing spokesman Mark H Durkan said PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne needed to make an “urgent statement about the scale of the breach”, outlining how it happened and the immediate response to it.

Mike Nesbitt, the Ulster Unionist representative on the Policing Board of Northern Ireland, has called for an emergency meeting of the Policing Board on Wednesday in response to the disclosure.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has been notified about the incident.

An ICO spokesman said: “The Police Service of Northern Ireland has made us aware of an incident and we are assessing the information provided.”

The PSNI has been contacted for comment.