Police officer accessed information on suspect in murder investigation he wasn’t involved in
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An officer breached policing standards by accessing information about an offender involved in a triple murder case that he wasn’t investigating.
Three people were killed following a series of knife attacks in Nottingham on 13 June 2023 and three others were injured when the suspect, Valdo Calocane, drove into them.
In the aftermath of the incidents, PC Matthew Gell used the police system to look up the custody records of a suspect who had been arrested.
His decision to do this on 15 June represented a data protection breach, due to the officer having no role whatsoever in the investigation.
PC Gell also breached strict professional policing standards by sharing information about the case in a text message on 13 June.
The officer was linked to the breaches days later on 16 June, following an investigation by Nottinghamshire Police’s Professional Standards Directorate (PSD).
After admitting to breaching standards of professional behaviour, namely around confidentiality, a misconduct hearing was set up for PC Gell.
An independent Legally Qualified Chair (LQC) hearing that was made open to the public and press was held at Sherwood Lodge Force HQ at 10am on Friday (19 January).
At the hearing, the panel agreed with PC Gell's acknowledgement that he'd made "a lapse of judgement" in doing what he did, but confirmed that his actions amounted to gross misconduct.
PC Gell was subsequently issued with a final written warning.
Superintendent Andrew Reynolds, of Nottinghamshire Police’s Professional Standards Directorate, said: "When officers join the police service, it is made clear to them that they are not allowed to access information relating to criminal proceedings that they’re not part of.
“There is no excuse for any officer to read criminal files and materials that relate to cases they’re not investigating.
“As a force, we take protection of confidential data extremely seriously and have a process in place to prevent people from accessing this information.
“While this case might seem like a minor breach from a public perspective, the actions of this officer fell below the high standards that we expect at Nottinghamshire Police.
“We take protection of our data extremely seriously and will always look to deal transparently with anyone that breaches these professional standards.”
Detective Superintendent Leigh Sanders, of the East Midlands Major Crime Unit, who is leading the homicide investigation, added: “I have engaged with families and informed them that I expect the highest of standards from those that work within policing when it comes to this investigation.
"I take the protection of sensitive case material very seriously.
"Any officer who breaches that trust and thinks that because they are a police officer they can access material relating to a homicide, needs to think again.
"This is not acceptable and anyone deemed to have done this will be dealt with severely under misconduct regulations, should that trust be breached.
"Those who access material without any legitimate policing purpose can expect the harshest of sanctions, including dismissal from the organisation.
"This is the message that I have conveyed to loved ones who have been affected by the Nottingham attacks.
"And the sentiment behind this message needs to be expressed to all who work within our organisation too.”
Valdo Calocane is due to appear back at Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday (23 January).