Sunday, 21 August 2011

Community Protection Officers Up to No Good (Allegedly - In Part Anyway)

I saw a report in the Telegraph about Met officers and staff being caught illegally accessing the Police National Computer for their own ends. It reminded me of something similar locally.

There have been two incidents reported locally (here and here) concerning Community Protection Officers being accused of rape. In one case the CPO was found guilty of using the PNC to find out if the woman had reported the attack, although he was found not guilty of the rape itself*. In the other case, it is reported that the CPO is accused of three rapes, two sexual assaults and 'misuse of computer systems'. I personally wonder whether this was again checking up for victims' reports. This second case has yet to be tried.

Notts Police has been in trouble for computer security before so you'd think that everything would be done to minimise risk. I can't for one minute see why CPOs would ever need access to the PNC so surely it would make sense to simply not give it to them?

As I say the second case has yet to go to full trial but if he is also found guilty questions need to be asked, and answered. As the Gunn case demonstrated, crooks who manage to get hold of police info find it easier to stay lucky. With rape cases having such low conviction rates anyway that's the last thing women need.

*Campaigners concerned with the low rate of convictions in rape trials, not to mention the woman concerned herself, might see this result as a bit of a kick in the teeth. Clearly I don't know all the facts etc but you have to wonder how a jury can see the accused man's denial of rape carrying greater credibility than the victim's accusation when they clearly found him dishonest enough to hack the PNC and then lie about it.

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