Porn and sexual emails found on police computers

PUBLISHED: 09:00 23 July 2012

Archant

SENDING sexual emails, accessing pornography and allowing family members to view confidential data – just some of the ways police officers have been misusing their computers.

Files released under the Freedom of Information Act show 70 separate disciplinary proceedings for inappropriate use of technology within Avon and Somerset Constabulary since January 2010.

Nearly two thirds of these matters involved serving police officers, with the rest involving special constables, PCSOs and office staff.

The majority of cases saw people accessing confidential police information for non-work purposes, including running checks on family members, partners and friends.

Several incidents saw police workers reprimanded for sending ‘inappropriate and unacceptable’ or ‘offensive’ emails to colleagues, including one ‘of a racial nature’.

There were also two cases where police have sent messages of ‘a sexual connotation’ – once to a colleague, and once to someone outside the force.

Staff have been caught revealing confidential police information to third parties, while one was collared using his work computer to access online pornography.

Others have even asked colleagues to log them onto computers during absences to create the impression they are at work when they are not.

The constabulary’s internet policy says: “The system has been designed and implemented for police business purposes. Staff have no entitlement to use the systems for private purposes.

“The system is subject of constant electronic monitoring which is capable of providing extensive information as to use/misuse.

“Staff will be individually responsible for email messages that they send.

“The force reserves the right to monitor and/or intercept data when properly authorised.”

Most cases saw the guilty parties given a talking to by senior officers, but a number saw written warnings added to their file.

Ten disciplinary proceedings are still ongoing, while seven people received final written warnings and one – who searched addresses and intelligence for non-police purposes on two separate occasions – was dismissed.

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