By Daily Mail Reporter
31st March 2011
If this happens in the UK where police are perhaps one of the more ethical police forces in the world, don’t you think it is happening in North America ? Especially since the Canadian and American police forces have gone so right-wing in the last twenty years that it is not even funny ?
Dozens of police have been caught using equipment at work to spy on their neighbours or partners – and 20 have left the force as a result.
Lancashire Constabulary officers and staff breached data protection laws 84 times in the past three years, an investigation has revealed.
After disciplinary hearings, 13 members of the force were dismissed, seven opted to resign, with many more given final written warnings.
Abuse: Some 13 Lancashire Police officers have been dismissed after they were found to have used work computers for their own personal curiosities
Breaches include officers accessing police computer systems to access classified data about potential and ex-partners, disclosing private information to family and friends, spying on ongoing cases and misusing Facebook.
Lancashire Constabulary last night said data breaches ‘will not be tolerated’.
The data has come to light thanks to the Freedom of Information Act – and a string of allegations has been uncovered, including:
- How a superintendent was alleged to have inappropriately used police systems to check the whereabouts of an ex-partner and information about her current boyfriend.
- That a police officer told his daughter and a third party that her new boyfriend had previous convictions for sexual offences.
- One officers conducted 53 different searches on a force computer with ‘no obvious policing purpose’.
- Another policeman ‘significantly misused’ the database and disclosed secret information to a third party, amounting to ‘misconduct in a public office’.
- A police constable used the IT systems to check the background of a car he was intending to buy.
- A sergeant was handed a final warning after using the police computer to spy on his family.
Bobbies on the beat: Lancashire police said they will not tolerate abuse by their officers
Clampdown: The Lancashire police website shows that all crime is down 9.6 per cent – but they now have 20 less officers
Requests for a breakdown of breaches by police station were rebuffed by Lancashire Constabulary amid fears that information could lead to officers’ identification.
But a special constable and police constable based in the West Lancashire ‘Southern’ division were among those to face data breach allegations.
And another PC faced claims he used police systems to check residents in a Tarleton street prior to purchasing his home there.
The same officer is alleged to have accessed other logs relating to a complainant and their neighbours, and divulged the information to a third party.
But the force ultimately took no further action.
The use of restricted data systems is audited by the police’s Professional Standards Directorate, which investigates alleged breaches.
Sanctions range from advice, to formal written warnings and reprimands and, for the most serious offences, dismissal.
A spokesperson for Lancashire Constabulary said the force would always take ‘robust action to investigate when necessary’.
He continued: ‘Lancashire Constabulary expects the highest standards of professional behaviour from all employees in relation to information security.
‘The public rightly expect that we maintain the security and integrity of all information held on police databases and it is paramount that we maintain their confidence in our ability to do so.
‘We audit how our staff access information to ensure that it is for policing purposes and that they are using that information lawfully and appropriately.
‘The misuse of police systems by any individual staff member will not be tolerated.’