'Award-winning' boy in blue given 'final written warning'
4 MARCH 2016 | BY Alexander J Martin FOR THE REGISTER
The three-day misconduct panel was held from 1 March in Basildon Magistrates Court, and heard praise about the "award-winning" constable from colleagues, delivering character references.
Valentine, 33, faced either a final written warning or a dismissal without notice. The DC admitted to "making improper checks of digital databases" according to Police Oracle, which noted how he had won an "achiever of the month" award.Valentine, 33, faced either a final written warning or a dismissal without notice. The DC admitted to “making improper checks of digital databases” according to Police Oracle, which noted how he had won an “achiever of the month” award.
Valentine was brought before the panel for having misused police databases to search for information on his then-wife’s step-brother and a man dating his wife’s mother. No information is available as to why he made these searches.
Stephen Morely, counsel for Essex Police against Valentine, told the hearing that he appreciated “any father who has the opportunity to look up people who are having access to their children… [is] going to do it. But if you are a police officer, you can’t do it, and everybody knows you can’t.”
Morely did not call for Valentine’s dismissal.
According to Essex Police, the misconduct panel heard that Valentine “accessed the Police Intelligence System once in 2010 and again in 2011 and viewed records (regarding a person known to him) without a proper policing purpose” although the searches were not made until much later.
Valentine’s defence lawyer stated that the material Valentine viewed “cannot in any way be described as highly sensitive – confidential, yes, but not highly sensitive.”
The panel, which was chaired by Colin Chapman, found that in these circumstances the officer’s conduct had “breached the standards of professional behaviour in terms of confidentiality, orders and instructions, and discreditable conduct.”
After the hearing, deputy chief constable Matthew Horne of Essex Police said: “We take breaches of professional standards extremely seriously and the information and intelligence we hold must only be used to keep people safe. When any officer or member of staff accesses this information inappropriately and not for a specific lawful policing purpose it is a gross breach of the public’s trust.”
“It is right that we take robust action on these cases to protect public confidence in policing and the integrity and professionalism of the overwhelming majority of Essex’s police officers,” concluded Horne.