Three laptop computers with access to personal details of crime victims have been stolen from Thames Valley Police staff.

Two were stolen from vehicles while a third was taken during a burglary at a police officer's home.

Deputy Chief Constable Francis Habgood said police computers were encrypted and did not contain private or personal information on public or staff.

But the laptops do have password access to an internal police system which logs all crimes and features victims' details.

The Government's Information Commissioner's Office has said there should be safeguards on all personal information stored on computers.

Mr Habgood said: "Three members of staff have had their laptops stolen in the past two years.

"These laptops did not contain any personal details of members of the public or staff. The laptops are encrypted so cannot be used by anyone other than the person who owns it.

"On each of these occasions, an assessment of whether this caused any security issues was carried out. Advice was given to these three people to minimise the risk of equipment being stolen in the future."

None of the three laptops was recovered.

Two police officers were victims of the theft, one from a vehicle, the second from their home.

A police civilian staff member was the third victim who had their laptop taken from a vehicle. None of them has been disciplined.

The laptops had basic computer programmes but also the command and control crime data which has access to any crime officers have attended and personal details on the caller and the crime.

Police spokesman Rebecca Webber said the thief would need to get past the encryption, a password and matching shoulder number to get into the system.

The three laptops were stolen between August 1, 2006, and August 1 this year.

A BlackBerry device was also stolen but has been retrieved. Police would not release statistics about police mobile phones or computer disks lost or stolen.

A spokesman for the Information Commissioner said: "Under the Data Protection Act any organisation which processes personal information must keep information secure.

"In this case the laptops were encrypted and password protected."

The figures were obtained by the Oxford Mail under the Freedom of Information Act.