back to article Boys in blue caught breaking IT rules

Over 400 police officers and support staff were caught and disciplined for misuse of IT systems last year. The real figure could be higher because some forces declined to provide information. Apart from using work computers to access Facebook and smut sites, some officers and civilian workers were disciplined for inappropriate …

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FAIL

But of course...

This will never happen with the National ID card computer.

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We only know about those who were caught

''The Police Federation said it was surprised the figures were so high''

What about those who were not caught ? I would be surprised if many times more got away with snooping on those who they should not have -- but the police will pretend that they don't exist.

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Grenade

Stick them on the database

Why not treat them like everyone else, destroy their lives, put them on the sex offenders reg and keep their DNA illegally forever.

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FAIL

Copper eh?

Yah gotta laugh!

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Truthful figures...

Now if they include the access and management of those systems illegally holding people's DNA... well... that'd make them ALL criminals then!

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Unhappy

Wow!

Try to contain my amazement, as they always say, one rule for one and one rule for another!

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Correction

"The Police Federation said it was surprised the figures were so high and suggested forces should be doing more to inform staff of what the rules were."

should read

"The Police Federation said it was surprised the figures were so high and suggested forces should stop looking for staff who were breaching the rules."

Why? Because that's what will now happen in order to make the figures look better.

The police - would you trust them?

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Falsified records.

I think that's reason to believe that some records about individuals on the police database may have been falsified.

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FAIL

Rule Makers are the Rule Breakers

Nice to see the people who enforce the rules know how to follow them... NOT!

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FAIL

RE: Rule Makers are the Rule Breakers

Erm, what "rules" do the police make? Enforce, I'll agree with...

Given the majority of the infractions are "inappropriate use of employers internet access", I'm not that bothered. Hell I'm betting 80% of the posts on here are the same thing.

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Crusty uppers.

Maybe people are being punished, by those who access this information whch can be about accusations, for crimes that they have not committed.

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Anonymous Coward

If only.......

I could ,erm, comment on this, but I cannot because I am gagged (no not like that Mr Copper) !!!!

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Black Helicopters

This is why the National Identity Database is flawed

These are only the figures for people who were caught and also whose forces actually gathered the data for reporting purposes: It is safe to asume that the number of people not caught, or cases not reported is far higher than this.

If we extrapolate this by the number of people who will have access to the NID and the Contactpoint child database, the number of breaches will probably be in the thousands. Please remember this when some government numbskull tries to persuade you that your personal details - as well as your children's - will be safe.

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Anonymous Coward

Nothing new...

There's nothing new about police misusing information - happened for a long time before computer databases. Hearsay, gossip, malicious information from officers with chips on their shoulders - it all sat in records the public were never allowed to see.

When my own niece divorced her abusive and violent police-officer husband, she went through a year of harassment by his local colleagues until she just gave up and left the area. She shudders to think what the police database has to say about her, as she's still pulled over by traffic cops far more often than coincidence allows. Since my wife and I - both retired and disabled and never in the slightest trouble with police - contradicted police evidence in court, we've been stopped regularly and tailed constantly on every kind of transparent pretext. Complaints a waste of time - just doesn't happen, so there.

And no rules broken, then or now. In an "Us and Them" police culture, the police decide for themselves what rules do and don't apply to them, almost certainly with the tacit permission of senior officers. Just look at the ongoing street photography nonsense. Ultimately it's a management and oversight problem. No-one is really in control at the end of the day - the public most certainly aren't. We get dodgy statistics (my own local police force insists there have been no data breaches whatever - yeah, right) and crocodile tears from politicians - but no-one is seriously tackling the problem of an out of control, right-wing and increasingly politicised police force.

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Stop

re: Nothing New...

Greetings and Salutations.

Here in the USA, It has been long true that Law Enforcement Officers have a simple picture of reality. In their internal model, there are only THREE kinds of people: 1) Cops. 2) Family of Cops. 3) Perps/Criminals. The longer I live, the more I realize that this is the view of LEOs in ALL cultures.

The sort of harassment that you mention happens here too. There are, alas, no good ways to deal with it and get it to stop. Running away used to help, but, in today's world of instant communication, that is less effective. I would suggest that a good defensive measure would be to purchase a notebook, and, record, in ink, every time a stop happens. Write down the date, the time, the badge number of the LEO, if possible, and/or the Unit Number on their vehicle. Also, take time to write down, as exactly as one can remember, what was said. The good news is that there are some excellent, sensitive and reliable digital recorders available on Ebay and other sources that can go a long way towards helping keep that record accurate. This will not make the harassment stop, but, it can be a powerful tool after a year or so if one wishes to use the spotlight of publicity to scare away the LEOs.

In most cases, all one can do is hunker down, and just take it until the predators lose interest and move on to other, more interesting targets.

Pleasant Dreams

Dave Mundt

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Police harassment

I don't know what the laws are in the UK, but here in Australia we have a system whereby we can actually get restraining orders against the police for harassment. If an officer searches your home or car three or more times (with a warrant) and does not find anything as specified on the warrant, you can go to a magistrate and apply for a court order restraining the police from searching you for whatever was on the warrant. If you can provide sufficient evidence that the police are repeatedly harassing you on a number of issues without actually getting anything on you, these court orders can practically amount to diplomatic immunity.

Case in point: a friend of mine got divorced several years ago and his ex-wife called the cops on him many times with various false accusations (drugs, stolen goods, alleged rape, etc). Since she came from a cop family they responded more often than not. The cops came to his house with warrants on several occasions, and he was eventually able to get a police harassment court order. It was a hell of a lot of work, recording everything and multiple court appearances, but it was worth it - the look on the cop's face the next time one came around and was presented with that piece of paper was priceless!

You might want to look into it to see if there's a similar setup in the UK. After all, Australian law is more or less based on yours.

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Yers

And these are the people you want me to trust with my national ID and my DNA? Yeah right.

I'm off to file this article along with the rest of the evidence proving "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" is the mantra of the total moron (oops, I seem to be running low on warehouse space, anyone got a spare county?)

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FAIL

inform staff of what the rules were

"The Police Federation said it was surprised the figures were so high and suggested forces should be doing more to inform staff of what the rules were"

Like it isn't illegal to take photographs. Even in Chatham. Even if you are tall.

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FAIL

Police federation Surprised

They thought the memebrship was a bit smarter than that.

This just means that the people caught weren't that clever.

Anyone who thinks that a quick check on the PNC for a "Drink" doesn't go on routinely is deluding themselves

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Anonymous Coward

When I worked for the police...

When I worked for the police, I couldn't even get to dell.com. And I worked in the IT dept.

Most detectives did a lot of their work from home, they got SmurfControlled so often at work they couldn't do their jobs.

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IT Angle

What sort of IT dept?

Tries to go to Dell.com? Is that where the police get their stuff from? no wonder my council tax is so ludicrously high!

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@SuperTim

Ones who support Dell Computers and perhaps need the warranty status or drivers.

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Ahh

Incompetant ones. I see.

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WTF?

Dell dot Com ?

Heck anybody should be arrested if they even visit DELL.COM and especially any government employee who has the time to go there.

1. For even thinking of wasting the taxpayers money.

2. If they did purchase anything from DELL.COM then they should go to jail for buying goods that are not good enough to use for boat anchors.

3. Just for thinking about any computer Dell makes should send them back to 1st grade.

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h 6
WTF?

Just one?

"use of the police national computer"

you mean your cops only have one computer, in the whole country?

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How times change...

Over 30 years ago, I was a civilian worker with the police force. At that time I'd estimate that 80% of the force were reasonably straight. A few bad apples, but no more than in any other walk of life.

I don't work in that sector any more, but I still have friends there. Unfortunately, these days, I can't think of a single police officer in our local force I'd trust an inch. The force is quota-driven, and "zero-tolerance" has simply become an excuse for cheap pinches instead of genuine police work. Early retirement pensions on 'health' grounds have become so common it's a disgrace. Even the Chief Constable survived a whitewash enquiry into financial irregularities.

It's not coincidence - it's policy. There ARE good, honest, conscientious police officers. But the best are leaving, or gone already - often forced out for not toeing the line.

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Anonymous Coward

Having worked in a PD...

I can tell you it's laughable to think that the only problem here is that the officers didn't know better. They do. You wouldn't believe how much time and energy is spent attempting to educate cops, especially when it comes to computer systems. Yet it just about every class I have attended or taught, it's always the same damn thing; officers napping, playing solitair, or simply sitting around for a minute or two ( to get the attendance ), then leaving.

Then, when time comes to use the system, they raise hell trying to figure it out, cursing computers in general for their own ineptitude.

So no. The problem isn't lack of education. The problem is the preexisting environment which exists in almost all PDs.

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Dead Vulture

It's not just about the porn...

... but that seems to be what has caught El Reg's attention (unsurprisingly)

The more important part IMO is this bit from the original article "Officers have also been dismissed for using police databases to check out people’s backgrounds for personal reasons."

Now *THAT* is what El Reg should have been highlighting because with the increased surveillance of everyone and the DNA database and so on, this is what is going to be the problem in the future, not some Plod knocking one off the wrist.

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FAIL

DNA

Yes! Let's let them take the DNA of innocent people who have no form or have ever been charged with a crime, and keep it forever.

Why ever not.

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Happy

"South Yorkshire fared worst"..

..or just maybe they did the best job of monitoring/reporting transgressions? maybe they should have kept stum like a couple of the others...

of course this isn't surprising in the slightely because the police/civil servants are no better/worse than the rest of society - if only mother (NuL) would realise this and stop treating those outside the "elite" as children.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dave Mundt

I did keep a notebook for a while, with times and badge numbers. One day I was asked to step outside my car while police 'checked it out' (note that I'm a retired, disabled man with no police record whatever and a spotless driving licence). Asked what they were checking for, a smirking officer told me that THEY were asking the questions... When I returned, the notebook was missing... Despite the fact they left the scene knowing everything they needed to know (if only from the computer in their car), I was still ordered to present all my documents to a police station within 7 days.

The point being - of course - that none of this ever happened. Not according to the officers concerned, that is...

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Paris Hilton

@ nothing new

Welcome to the Police State.

Woulnt surprise me if you lived in Kent sounds exactly like there modus operandi.

You only need 5 gcse's at grade C to become a plod little wonder the modern breed of police officer is like a cross between constable savage and the terminator, only less bright.

My dealings with older career police officers has been very different to the new breed, its unfortunate that much of the front line policing is done by young poorly educated power crazed judge dredd wannabees.

Paris, about as intellectual as 5-0 get!

.

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Joke

Police officer IT skills rising.

Training does pay off after all.

Mind how you go.

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F*ck the Police (pt II)

As an innocent man who has his DNA held by the bastards in blue, I'm really hacked off there's one rule for them and one rule for us. I always knew that was the case but it really sticks in my craw when we have our noses rubbed in it like this.

It should be obvious to anyone by now the Police are totally out of control. They don't do a good job of preventing crime, catching criminals or keeping the streets safe, so what purpose do they serve, other than to line their own pockets and have a great time at our expense?

Support your local copper. With a stout rope.

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Black Helicopters

Who cares?

It is the "appropriate use of the police national computer" that I am more worried about.

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