A Lincolnshire Police sergeant has been given a final written warning after using a police data system to carry out personal checks on a suspect he described as “a jammy git”.
Sgt Stuart Mumby-Croft, who was based at Grantham, passed on information from the police data system to a member of the public and he carried out personal checks on a suspect, referred to as person A, over a number of months.
In June this year he discovered that A had been arrested for an unspecified matter but had been released on bail.
That led him to send an email to a member of the public, known only as B, in which the officer referred to the suspect as a “jammy git”.
The hearing at Lincolnshire Police headquarters on Friday, September 28 was told that Sgt Mumby-Croft had previously been given advice about his use of police data systems.
But earlier this year he checked out details relating to A on police systems on a number of occasions.
Liz Briggs, for Lincolnshire Police Authority, said: “This clearly breached the standards of professional behaviour.
“The authority do not submit that the officer has acted dishonestly but he has acted without integrity.”
She said that Sgt Mumby-Croft broke regulations by accessing police data systems to search for infomation held about A when he had no legitimate policing purpose to do so.
Mrs Briggs said that after A was arrested Sgt Mumby-Croft contacted a senior professional standards officer with concerns that A was in breach of his bail conditions.
“His concern was that he believed A was in breach of his bail conditions.”
The information about A’s case was placed in a restricted area on police systems. The following day Sgt Mumby-Croft searched the system for details of A but was unable to access the information because it was restricted.
He then emailed B saying: “No sign of custody overnight! I can’t see the job because they have restricted it but I suspect that once again he’s a jammy git.”
Mrs Briggs said: “He disclosed information he should not have to person B.”
She said he had also accessed police data systems relating to A on other occasions when there was no legitimate policing purpose to do so.
Mrs Briggs added: “This set of circumstances seriously undermines public confidence in the police service. The public are entitled to expect a police officer to act confidentially.
“The conduct was planned, it was continued and it involved the onward disclosure of information. That makes this breach so serious that it justifies dismissal.”
Sgt Mumby-Croft , who has served as a police officer since 2007, admitted three allegations relating to his use of police data between March 21 and July 1 this year, breaching standards of professional behaviour involving integrity, confidentiality, orders and instructions, and discreditable conduct.
He also admitted that his behaviour amounted to gross misconduct.
He apologised for his behaviour and told the hearing: “I utterly convinced myself at the time that I was doing the right thing.
“I look back now and I feel stupid about that and I utterly regret it. It was a grave error. At the time I believed I was doing the right thing.
“I should have taken a step back and I should have gone to someone else and spoken to a superviser rather than take it on my own shoulders.
“I have always tried to conduct myself with honesty and integrity as an officer. I made a complete mess of this.”
Adam Birkby, for Sgt Mumby-Croft, urged that the officer should receive a final written warning rather than be sacked.
He said: “He acted in good faith. There was no actual or potential compromise of a police investigation as a result of the misconduct.
“When confronted by his misconduct he immediately admitted it in interview. He has shown remorse and insight into his own professional failings. He apologises wholeheartedly.”
Lincolnshire Chief Constable Bill Skelly, who carried out the hearing, ruled that Sgt Mumby-Croft should receive a final written warning.
He said: “I am clear that Sgt Mumby-Croft accessed information inappropriately. He was aware, at least to some level, that his actions were inappropriate. Sgt Mumby-Croft should have and did know better.
“I sincerely hope that Sgt Mumby-Croft learns from his mistakes and is able to use his experience to prevent others from making the same misjudgement.”