‘Significant’ number of police misuse access to data

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VETTING of serving members of Hampshire police has found a ‘significant’ number had ‘misused’ access to computer systems.

A report by HMICFRS, the police and fire watchdog, rated the force as ‘good’ in an inspection over its legitimacy. Inspectors looked at complaint data, the use of stop and search powers, along with workforce complaints.

The report, published today, said that inspectors had previously raised concerns officers, PCSOs and staff were not routinely re-vetted after 10 years in the job.

The force has now started this, the report said. It added: ‘This wider approach has identified a significant number of individuals who have historically misused their access privileges and a small number of officers with significant financial difficulties who are now receiving welfare support.’

Police in debt raises concerns over whether they are susceptible to corruption. Other findings included:

n 77 per cent of PCs, all PCSOs and 75 per cent of staff have up to date security clearance.

n Black people are eight times more likely to be stopped and searched than a white person.

n The force has recruited more investigators and superintendents to ease workloads.

Zoë Billingham, of HMICFRS, said: ‘I am pleased that Hampshire Constabulary has again been judged as good at how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime.

Police understood the ‘importance of treating people fairly and with respect’.