Bedfordshire Police detective chief inspector dismissed for data breach

A driver assaulted another following a two-vehicle crash in Leverington Road, Wisbech on Thursday, A

A driver assaulted another following a two-vehicle crash in Leverington Road, Wisbech on Thursday, August 9. - Credit: Archant

A Bedfordshire Police detective chief inspector committed gross misconduct by accessing force data outside his role, a special case hearing has heard.

Chris Beresford was found to have accessed a crime report, custody record, case documents and a restraining order in relation to the ex-partner of a family member with no policing reason, at the hearing on Wednesday.

He was also found to have sent emails to outside agencies and websites regarding the information, all between November 2015 and October 2016.

An investigation into the former DCI – who had served for 20 years before resigning in February – was launched in January by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Professional Standards Department.

Mr Beresford was criminally cautioned for two offences under the Data Protection Act and Computer Misuse Act following the investigation and an interview.

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Mr Beresford – who did not attend, but was represented by the Police Federation – was formally dismissed by Beds chief constable Jon Boutcher, who chaired the hearing.

“Chris Beresford abused his position to repeatedly access personal information of an individual with no proper policing purpose,” said Mr Boutcher.

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“He accepted his criminal acts by accepting a criminal caution in May.

“Having looked at the circumstances of this case presented to me, I consider that he is fortunate not to have faced criminal charges.

“Police officers are trusted with access to a large amount of personal data and it is imperative that information is handled responsibly and appropriately.”

He added: “This was a breach of that trust and an abuse of his powers which let his colleagues down and could well damage the reputation of the force.

“Such behaviour has no place in policing and is gravely injurious to the relationship between the public and the police.

“It is in the public interest to ensure the swift and immediate cessation of the careers of any police officers who fail to live up to the high standards expected both by the organisation and the public in this regard.”

In 2017, a decision was made that all gross misconduct cases must continue until they reach a conclusion.

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