A misconduct hearing at Dyfed-Powys Police has reportedly told of a police officer misusing information for non-professional purposes.
The personal details in question are understood to have been taken when the officer fined a woman for a breach of Covid restrictions. If the special officer in question had not resigned before the hearing, he would likely have lost his job over the misuse of personal information.
As citizens, we have a right to trust that police officers use our information solely for the purposes of law enforcement. If they ever take advantage of the information, they have access to, it can constitute gross professional misconduct and a breach of data protection law. Anyone who has had their data exposed or misused by the police may be able to claim compensation for the harm caused.
How was the police officer misusing information?
Although police officers are entitled to record certain personal information when registering even a minor situation, the officer’s actions saw him abuse his legitimate entitlement to request details.
After fining a 19-year-old woman for a Covid breach, the officer decided to log her phone number on his own phone without her knowledge or consent. He then used this number later that day to ask her if she was single, and to ask her out for a coffee.
When the woman asked if Brennan had obtained the phone number illegally, he reportedly said that it was ‘fine’. She later decided to report the incident, prompting an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
The verdict of the hearing
The panel at the Dyfed-Powys hearing were told that the woman felt “uncomfortable, scared, and intimidated” as a result of the officer’s texts. The officer, who asked for his apologies to be conveyed to the victim, said he had only intended to start a friendship with her, rather than a sexual relationship.
Although the officer asserted that his actions only constituted misconduct rather than gross misconduct, the panel concluded that he had breached professional standards on three counts, which related to integrity, confidentiality and authority, and respect and integrity.
In particular, the panel stated that the gross misconduct was more serious because it involved a data protection breach. The case demonstrates that, for a police officer, misusing information is not a minor offence, and can result in dismissal when required.
Holding police officers to account for data misuse
It has been recommended that the officer be barred from working for the police in future, meaning that he may not be given the chance to abuse such power again.
We believe that the public’s trust in the police should never be abused when it comes to obtaining personal information, so we can help you to fight for justice if you have been affected by a police officer misusing information, or by the misuse of police computer systems. Despite their duties of law enforcement, police officers are not exempt from data protection regulations, which is why you can be eligible to claim compensation if your data has been misused.
To find out more about making a compensation claim, contact our expert team for free, no-obligation advice today.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.
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First published by Author on August 31, 2021
Posted in the following categories: Claims Data GDPR Government Police Security and tagged with compensation | data breach | data controllers | employee breaches | gdpr | government | personal data | police breach | police data breach