Bedfordshire Special Constable found to have committed gross misconduct  Image By Brian Jackson AdobeStock_75638936

Force computer systems accessed for non-policing matters

A former Bedfordshire Police special constable who accessed information outside of her role on several occasions has been found to have committed gross misconduct.

At a Special Case Hearing at Bedfordshire Police HQ on Wednesday (12 June 2019), Sophie Fletcher was found to have breached professional standards.

It was ruled that if she had not resigned from her role as a member of police staff in March, and from her duties as a Special Constable in April, she would have faced instant dismissal.

The hearing heard how Fletcher repeatedly accessed force computer systems in December 2018 for non-policing matters.

The Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Professional Standards Department launched an investigation which found Fletcher had searched Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) data on a partner’s vehicle with no policing purpose. She admitted the allegations in interview and accepted a criminal caution.

Chief Constable Jon Boutcher chaired the misconduct hearing and formally dismissed Fletcher. Mr Boutcher said:

“This entire matter is about the trust of the public in their police officers and members of police staff to conduct themselves professionally, and discharge their responsibilities properly.

“The responsibility we bear in managing systems and personal data comes with high expectations from the public, our communities and our partners, and breaching such trust is detrimental to these relationships.

“I have no choice but to come to a determination of dismissal without notice, I simply cannot permit you to remain in the service with any risk of further misuse.

“We have a duty to handle access to such information responsibly and appropriately and should only utilise systems and data for the right and proper reasons.”