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Sussex PC Thomas Grant used police computers to research potential date
A police officer “ruined” his career by researching a woman he fancied on the force’s computers.
Thomas Grant, who joined Sussex Police as a constable in 2008, was searching for police records on a woman he was sending text messages to, Brighton Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday (WED).
Juliet Evans, prosecuting, said: “He fancied her and thought he might have some luck in dating her.”
But the 24-year-old accidentally accessed the wrong person – someone with a similar name who was a witness to criminal damage.
Miss Evans said there was no indication Grant was looking up the information for legitimate policing reasons – but just because he fancied the other, similarly named woman.
Grant searched the woman’s name in the early hours of May 1, 2012 on the computer at Bognor Police Station, where he was based in the neighbourhood response team.
Grant, who had initially denied any wrongdoing, admitted one count of obtaining data without the consent of the data controller, an offence under the Data Protection Act 1988.
Miss Evans said the woman he researched had no knowledge of Grant, who resigned as a PC on September 11. But she was distressed when she found out what he had been doing, Miss Evans said.
Miss Evans, added: “He was using the police computer for non-policing purposes. “He admitted his actions. “ The woman he looked up was a witness to a criminal damage.
“Her records had been illegally-accessed.”
Kim Goodall, defending, confirmed Grant had resigned from his post on September 11.
He said: “He’s ended his career in the police force.”
Describing Grant’s actions as “stupid,” he said he had “ruined” his career and added: “He knew he would be caught – he apologises.”
Speaking after the hearing Grant, of Stroud Green Drive, Bognor, who was fined £800, said: “I’m just glad that this is over. “I just want to thank my friends, family and former colleagues for supporting me.”
Sussex Police Detective Sergeant Niall Moloney said: “The misuse of force computers or systems by either officers or staff for anything other than a policing purpose is totally unacceptable and is not tolerated by Sussex Police.
“Any allegation of this kind is investigated thoroughly. “Members of the public can be assured that their details are safe with us. “Anyone who attempts to undermine that confidence will be dealt with swiftly and robustly."
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