A Birmingham police officer who passed on confidential information obtained from the force computer to two convicted fraudsters has escaped an immediate jail sentence.
Some of the material provided allowed one of the fraudsters to try and illegally get mobile phones and also set up various accounts.
Judge Howard Morrison, QC, told Mark Turner: “You are in the most serious position of all. But I have to start from the fact you have no previous convictions and that there are aspects of your police service which are commendable.
“The public have a right to be able to trust police officers and you have demonstrated you are unworthy of that trust. You have let down the police in general and your fellow officers and the public in particular.
“Fortunately for the public and the police the damage caused by your misconduct was relatively light, although it was blatant and persistent.”
The judge said he had also taken into account that Turner had served the equivalent of a nine-and-a-half month sentence of imprisonment while on remand and that his actions were the result of “immaturity and hubris” rather than any deep-rooted corruption.
Turner, 25, from Walmley, Sutton Coldfield, was given a 12-month sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 150 hours’ unpaid work.
He had previously admitted two charges of misconduct in a public office and one of conspiracy to defraud banks and other financial institutions.
Simon Haycock, 29, from Handsworth, who had previously pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting Turner in his misconduct, was jailed for 10 months, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 120 hours’ unpaid work.
Anthony Palmer, 30, from Kingstanding, who also admitted aiding and abetting Turner and conspiracy to defraud, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, ordered to 120 hours’ unpaid work and pay 3,500 compensation.
Michael Burrows, QC, prosecuting at Birmingham Crown Court, said Turner, who became a police officer in April 2004, was based in Hockley, and that police records showed the searches and enquiries he had made on the police computer over a period of time.
Mr Burrows said that as an example on April 17, 2006, Turner had made 89 searches retrieving information about a man called Kevin Turner.
These details were passed on to Palmer, who subsequently used them to attempt to carry out a deception for which he was prosecuted and sentenced.
Mr Burrows said Turner would often log onto the computer using the identity of another officer and on another occasion he viewed records in relation to various addresses in the Sutton Coldfield area, although he had no legitimate purpose for doing so.
He said Turner had also helped Palmer obtain a passport under a false identity and that Palmer had used it to help him open a number of bank accounts.
Mr Burrows said stolen cheques were paid into at least two of these accounts and that Turner had access to one of them using a debit card to withdraw cash.
He said there came a time when police began to carry out covert surveillance on Turner and that when police raided Haycock’s home they discovered a confidential crime report about Haycock which had been supplied to him by the officer.
The court heard that Haycock had a previous conviction for conspiracy to defraud while Palmer had also been convicted of obtaining property by deception and attempted deception.
Roger Thomas, QC, defending, said Turner had known the co-defendants for some years and that his friendship with them could be described as “unwise” although the information he passed on was not of the highest sensitivity and had not led to any ongoing investigations being compromised.
“He is not a wicked person. He is a misguided person, he is a stupid person who wished to demonstrate he did have access to material others wanted. When they gave their own name and names of friends he was stupid enough to supply it.”