On 2 March 2020 a misconduct hearing, which has a power to sack Police Officers when required, heard allegations of misconduct against Northumbria Police ex-Inspector Appleton concerning Inspector Appleton’s access of Police information systems to obtain details relating to individuals with whom he had connections – one of whom was wanted by Police on suspicion of assault.
Further it was alleged Inspector Appleton used Police systems to access information relating to an individual who was connected to his family at the time. The searches were without a legitimate policing purpose and were in breach of Northumbria Police’s data protection policy and procedure.
It is unfortunate that we continue to see examples of Police Officers using the extensive resources available to them for their own personal reasons. We have been involved in cases in which Officers have accessed Police systems to obtain information on ex-partners, neighbours etc. Without a legitimate policing purpose such access is likely to amount to misconduct by the Officer and result in a claim against the Police Force for the distress caused to the person whose details/information has been access unlawfully.
In ex-Inspector Appleton’s case a misconduct hearing found that had ex-Inspector Appleton still been a member of Northumbria Police then he would have been dismissed following the hearing as a result of the misconduct in this matter.