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​UK constable accused of breaching data protection law to access women’s private info

Published time: July 11, 2014 16:10
Reuters / Toby Melville

Reuters / Toby Melville

UK chief constable, Nick Gargan, is under criminal investigation for allegedly breaking data protection legislation to access personal information of younger females whom he’s accused of inappropriately propositioning.

Previously stationed at Avon and Somerset, the former constable once held the position of chief of the National Policing Improvement Agency, and was reportedly tipped to become a Met police commissioner.

But following an investigation by UK police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), Gargan has been suspended and is the subject of criminal investigation.

The probe was sparked by concerns raised by two whistleblowers that the former officer had acted inappropriately towards younger women – both inside and outside the force.

Throughout the course of their inquiry, IPCC investigators have reportedly consulted 50 individuals – including multiple female officers – and scrutinized swathes of communications data.

Rachel Cerfontyne, deputy chair of the IPPC, stated on Friday that concrete evidence has been uncovered that Gargan “may have breached the Data Protection Act by sending emails concerning police business, some of which contained personal data, to individuals unconnected with the force”.

Cerfontyne went on to confirm that the former chief constable has been formally notified he is under criminal investigation for this alleged misconduct.

Gargan is also being questioned over further potential misconduct relating to alleged inappropriate behaviour towards numerous female officers whom he worked with.

According to the Guardian, the accused’s police and crime commissioner believed his alleged behaviour would not culminate in a criminal investigation.

A statement released in June by Britain’s Chief Police Officers Staff Association on behalf of Gargan said the former chief constable was aware of the IPCC’s planned investigation, but had been informed his alleged behaviour was not being treated as criminal.

On July 1st, however, Cerfontyne informed Gargan’s police and crime commissioner that the IPPC’s investigation had uncovered potentially incriminating evidence that the former police official may have breached Britain’s Data Protection Act.

The IPPC’s investigation into Gargan’s alleged breach of Britain’s Data Protection Act comes at a time when the UK government have pushed through emergency legislation requiring phone companies to keep records of customer calls and internet activity.

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