Police officer sentenced for searching personal data of colleagues

0
1758

A former Warwickshire Police officer who used police computer systems to search the personal data of colleagues has been handed a 12-month community order.

Norman Nigel Stephens, 47, of Hatton Park, illegally used the force’s incident management, intelligence and number plate recognition systems in May and June 2018.

Investigators from the Warwickshire Police Professional Standards Department proved that he had accessed information on the systems without a legitimate policing purpose.

Stephens offending was identified as part of a separate investigation.

He was arrested on 19 June 2018 and subsequently suspended from his position as a detective constable in the force’s child exploitation team.

He resigned from the force in November 2018.

Appearing at Warwickshire Magistrates Court today (Wednesday 13 February), Stephens pleaded guilty to four counts of causing a computer to perform a function to secure or enable unauthorised access to a program or data.

In addition to the community order he was also ordered to complete 150 hours unpaid work and pay £270 in costs.

He will also now be subject to internal proceedings.

Sean Kyne, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Whilst it has not been established what the motive was for accessing the personal information, this was in clear breach of the law.

“Stephens would have known that his actions were unlawful. He conducted the searches on police systems for personal reasons and not policing purposes.

“The CPS takes offences of this nature very seriously as it is important that officers can be trusted with personal information of the public.”

Assistant chief constable, Alex Franklin-Smith, added: “Our officers and staff have access to a lot of sensitive information and we expect them to use systems appropriately and with the utmost integrity.

“We carry out regular checks to ensure officers and staff accessing information on force systems have a legitimate policing purpose for doing so and where they don’t, we take robust action.

“Stephens’ behaviour fell well below what we expect from our officers and staff. As we have seen in this case, when officers and staff do misuse systems, they won’t only face internal disciplinary proceedings, they may also feel the full force of the law.”