back to article Corrupt cop abused police database to blackmail child abusers

A London policeman who attempted to blackmail sex offenders and drug dealers has been jailed for six years. PC Amerdeep Singh Johal, 29, was arrested by anti-corruption cops from Scotland Yard in July 2007. Johal was employed in checking names and address on the police database, called Crimint, on behalf of beat cops. He …

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Not the nine o'clock news

'So why did you arrest him officer?'

'Sir, I arrested him for being in possession of thick lips and black curly hair.'

PC Amerdeep Singh Johal... Unfortunate name, wonder if they would of caught him if it had been PC Martin Smith of Croydon CID?

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The police, abusing their powers?

Never!

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@Tony Paulazzo

"wonder if they would of caught him if it had been PC Martin Smith of Croydon CID?"

As he was caught due to one of his victims reporting him, I expect so.

Anyway, are you suggesting we shouldn't arrest criminals because they sound "a bit foreign"?

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Stop

Guidelines

"There are strict guidelines in place regarding the use of intelligence databases and if anyone abuses it that is taken extremely seriously."

Does this mean

"There's a big sign up by the stable telling the horse in no uncertain terms not to run away while the door is open. We also have a large squad of officers ready to close the door at a moments notice should the horse mysteriously go missing, and then jump on quad-bikes to go fetch it back if they can find it." ??

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Bug
Black Helicopters

Someone pass this story to Wackie Jackie

She claims that her uber-database will not be abused or missused....

The gov cannot stop even the databases in use being abused. What damn hope have they got for future.

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Good on him.

They're criminals, they deserve everything they get!

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Black Helicopters

But then again...

So is he, and he did, so all is well in the balance.

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@Tony Paulazzo

You are a cock and a retard; a cocktard.

The chap was blackmailing people and abusing his powers as a copper - are you saying that it should be ignored just because he's a 'minority'?? You fucking idiot. It's people like you from the 'poor me' brigade that are ruining the country.

Do you have 'thick lips and black curly hair'? Is it a complex of yours, or is a recurring dream that you have whilst your father spanks your plank?

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twelvebore

No it means "Here is a bit of PR puffery to be used in the event of illegal database access"

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Texted?

"Johal, of Ilford, texted a friend"

No he did not, there is no such word as 'Texted'. Stop destroying the English language.

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Is that all?

Seeing as you can get on this register for pissing in the street these days, it's a jke that he only got 6 years for abusing an extremely sensitive position and causing untold misery, possibly endangering life (vigilante attacks).

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Go

Re. Guidelines

>Does this mean - "There's a big sign up by the stable telling the horse in no uncertain terms not to run away while the door is open. We also have a large squad of officers ready to close the door at a moments notice should the horse mysteriously go missing, and then jump on quad-bikes to go fetch it back if they can find it." ??

Why yes. Yes it does.

Wonderfully reassuring, isn't it.

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Brush meet carpet

The case has raised wider concerns about the misuse of police databases, which the "Metropolitan police is keen to downplay."

Of course this new proposed comms database nor the NDNAD will ever be abused by the greedy or those with self serving agendas. And, as these databases will be/are totally secure and are only ever accessed by the most trustworthy of persons, is it surprising that the police wish to downplay such misuse? After all, it has never happened before and it will never happen again.

The mere thought that those in control of this data cannot be trusted is vary scary indeed, and as we know the last thing the police wish to do is cause panic, admit to error or reveal the truth unless it fits with policy/practice.

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Stop

All your secrets...

are belong to the police.

Another sound reason for ID cards since they would have made it impossible to, erm, errr... well anyway, they're dead good and everything, so let's get them in, right?

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Misuse of databases

"if anyone abuses it that is taken extremely seriously."

Then the police should be investigating the large gang led by a Mr. G Brown of Downing Street, Westminster.

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@ twelvebore

Probably...

Seriously though, it doesn't matter how many procedures are put in place this kind of abuse is always possible. What is needed is a system that checks the checker, to make sure that their search of the database is related to an actual investigation. That way you can correlate the searches against the beat officer's recorded requests. Any searches without a corresponding match against the beat officer should then be flagged to the relevant supervisor for investigation.

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Jobs Halo

What a load of BS...

ir is when the Met say ,quote, "There are strict guidelines in place regarding the use of intelligence databases and if anyone abuses it that is taken extremely seriously.".

That is absolute bollox ,and the usual BS that the Met give out thinking the public

is stupid enough to believe it. Lets face it, 90% of Met coppers lie when faced with

anything said against them.

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He's in some Amerdeep shit

Might even do a tour of the big-boys club!

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Stop

How much...

And how much would he have gotten had he just 'lost' a disc containing a backup of crimint? There's more than one way to line an officials pocket.

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Coat

In unrelated news...

Jacqui Smith has said that she intends to set up an 'ID warehouse company' to auction off publicly collected information, once she leaves her post in the home office overseeing the rollout of the National ID scheme. :)

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Perp to be recruited by civil service

as a matter of urgency?

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Wider concern

... which the Metropolitan police is keen to downplay ...

Yeah. I'll bet they are.

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Thank you call again

Sometimes you need to amass capital to set up a corner shop.

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A Scotland Yard spokesman told the BBC:

"There are strict guidelines in place regarding the use of intelligence databases and if anyone abuses it that is taken extremely seriously."

The "strict guidelines" being "don't do this, it's naughty and we wouldn't like it"?

Somewhat ironic given No2ID's just launched "Take Jane" campaign. See http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=v1JqlvnZANA

If we have a National ID Database, is this sort of thing going to be:

a) Less likely?

b) More likely?

Still, if you've got nothing to hide...

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Stop

So, nobody noticed...

The police say there are "strict guidelines in place regarding the use of intelligence databases". But they didn't notice the misuse. The big question, of course, is "why not?"

Have the procedures that allowed the misuse of the databases been changed in light of this case? What were they before? What are they now? How is access audited?

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Joke

@twelvebore

Just to continue with the brilliant metaphor...

In the ensuing inquiry, it shall be determined that there was no horse, in a stable which isn't there, it didn't cost the force £205 000 pounds not to catch said non-existent horse, that lessons have been learned, procedures may or may not have changed, the door has been bricked up, but to provide access a new door has been made in another location, move along now sonny nothing to see...

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Anonymous Coward

"There are strict guidelines regarding the use of intelligence databases"

As the excellent New Yorker cartoon put it - "Don't you feel so much safer now that crime has been made illegal?"

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Paris Hilton

The penny drops.

I think I've just realised why Wacqui Jacqui and the cronies are so intent on monitoring everyone's email, movements and identity.

They think we're all as corrupt as they are.

Might as well hide everything, we've got plenty to fear from them.

Paris, she can be strict with my database.

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Coat

@Stuart Elliot

Being a criminal means you have no rights and should roll over to anyone who comes your way and tries to blackmail you?

<rant>

You blithering idiot! Your very words bespeak you as a cretin, sir, and I find your comments offensive and 'hoodish'. You are quite clearly of the mindset of the worst of estate hooligans which leaves Me to wonder how your using a pc to get on the internet? Are you by chance robbing someones house?

</rant>

In all seriousness though... My friend was convicted of similar offences, did his time in jail, came out a broken man who was placed in the usual Sex Offenders rehab programmes which I have had the distasteful duty of dropping him off at so he can continue on his road of becoming the man I know he is. I have seen his end of programme report in which it is claimed he still has some issues but is effectively... 'ok'

He is setting up his life once more with a girlfriend who knows his past, he has a job, a baby on the way and he is doing good... At what point, considering his past, does it make it ok for ANYONE to upset that? What that copper did is essentially terrorism on a personal level, I am disgusted that the Met couldnt pick up on this sooner and I think he got off lightly, VERY lightly...

Not to mention the sheer fear of mine that police have this much power and I echo the thoughts of "if the police cannot manage THIS much power and regulate it effectively, how can they be trusted with something bigger and far more powerful?'

Mine's the one with the Channel Island work visa

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Gold badge

The £32,000 fine...

...looks to be about a tenth of what he's earned from his crimes. :(

On an unrelated note, it's a shame the database was entirely accurate. Actual child abusers and drug dealers are so much less likely to complain to the local plod when they receive blackmail threats. Happily the government are working on this. Once the number of records is up to a hundred million or so, the number of errors should be large enough for mis-identification to be an almost daily occurence.

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@Columbus

The metaphor would be more apt if a stable hand, employed by the stable, stole the horse.

But lets not put any perspecitve in the way of the histrionics.

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Anonymous Coward

Police Crimewave

Need to cut the police force budget, and move in a group to police the police, it is got to the point where most cannot be trusted, and at that point they become a very visible liability to the country.

Most of their powers should be revoked, and they should not be allowed to hold huge databases on people, they should operate with the same laws as the rest of society, no special privilege it just gets abused.

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RE:Texted?

So are we no longer alowed to change the language at all? Must it for ever remain the same? At what point did English become English? I say we should stop all new words as of 3.22 PM (GMT) on the 13.11.1973. All words in use at that time are fine. any after then are bad words and must not be used.

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JC
Paris Hilton

Bit Of Fun

... this chap is going to have in jail when cellmates find out he was blackmailing ex-cons.

Paris, because it's rough in jail when you're the princess.

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Those Guidelines...

...are clearly useless. What is needed are systems that work.

We have here somebody employed to search the database on behalf of other officers. Surely all work on the database has to be entered against a particular case? If not then there's a massive hole that no guideline is ever going to close. If they are entered against a case then a summary of each search should automatically be emailed to the investigating officer on the case. If this was done then unnecessary searches would be picked up much more quickly.

Far too often in the event of a data security breach we are told that guidelines , policies or procedures should have prevented it from happening when clearly they did no such thing. Human nature is human nature and no amount of guidelines will change that.

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Anonymous Coward

I can't see why

PC Amerdeep Singh Johal didn't just leak the names and addresses to local vigilantes.

They were child molesters after all.

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Anonymous Coward

@sean

"Sometimes you need to amass capital to set up a corner shop."

That's the limit of your observations in a week where Colin Stagg and Suzanne Holdsworth were proven to be right royally fucked around by a bunch of fat white blokes in blue. Priceless.

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"Guidelines"

"The police say there are "strict guidelines in place regarding the use of intelligence databases". But they didn't notice the misuse. The big question, of course, is "why not?""

Well that's the tricky part with weasel-english, they stress there are guidelines in place, and that is all. They probably DO have a guideline "pretty please, with nuts on top, don't abuse this database."

"Have the procedures that allowed the misuse of the databases been changed in light of this case? What were they before? What are they now? How is access audited?"

They don't mention procedures, they mention guidelines. If they had any security I think the weasel in question would have mentioned more than "guidelines". I think this was phrased *expecting* the general populace to just assume there's some sort of security in place. I'm guessing in actuality there's not so much as an audit log. It's even LESS likely if there is an audit log that anyone looks at it.

This is the great risk of these 1984-style databases the US and Brits seem to be racing to get. We've just seen the example here in the US where the IRS (Internal Revenue Service, a.k.a. the taxman) has been found to keep an audit log but not routinely check it for abnormal activity.

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Unhappy

Corrupt piggys with access to NuLabours mega database?

Now that scare the fuck out of me!

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Flame

Missed opportunity.

Blackmailing child abusers? That's cheap and seedy.

I'd've had a lot more sympathy for the guy if he'd used the info to hunt them down 'Death Wish' style.

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Unhappy

If you've got nothing to hide...

You get to live in fear of bent bobbies blackmailing you!!!! And i though that sanctimonious rubbish about "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" couldn't be countered, I'd almost welcome the coppers proving me wrong on that if the ramifications weren't so utterly terrifying...

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Tim
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@Tony Paulazzo

You colossal tit.

Not wanting to cover ground that Master Baker and AC have so effectively managed above, I'll instead add to the flaming and point out that Amerdeep Singh Johal is a Sikh name. Everyone knows that Sikhs are a terrifying group of die-hard fundamentalist terrorists, responsible for all manner of atrocities including the Bombay hotel shootings, 7/7, 9/11 and the Madrid attacks. This is why a Sikh constable would be an instant object of suspicion. Except of course that this is a load of bollocks and only a white, middle class, Guardian reading do-gooder could be simultaneously so racist as to assume that the only reason he was investigated was because of his name, and so ignorant as to believe that his 'iffy' name tags him as a member of an outsider community of freedom haters.

Fact is, Amerdeep Singh Johal is as British a name as Martin Smith. Sikhs have been waving their Kirpans around our green island for, like, ever. Some of them are shopkeepers, some own companies, some are murderers and rapists and, God help us, a few are even MPs.

He was collared for one reason only: he was a tarnished badge.

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Flame

'Strict guidelines'

"There are strict guidelines in place regarding the use of intelligence databases and if anyone abuses it that is taken extremely seriously."

Oooo - guidelines! I bet nobody would dare go against 'guidelines'! So rather than auditing and monitoring access, people with full access to the police database are simply asked not to abuse it? Genius.

Just think of the abuse potential of the UKID database.

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Joke

Jacqui is doing a fantastic job

says a completely unrelated husband of the home secretary. Writing in the Reading Advertiser.

That's good enough for me.

So I unreservedly apologise for terming her a scary incompetent pasty faced facist tw*t who is a bigger threat (to us all) than all the terrorists combined.

One (or more) 'entirely genuine' unsolicited letter to a regional newspaper is all the proof I need.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/3884523/Jacqui-Smiths-husband-behind-series-of-defensive-letters.html

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Anonymous Coward

@Missed opportunity.

Sod sex offenders. Why couldn't he have gone after the muggers,burglars, and murderers?

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Paris Hilton

This kind of thing wouldn't happen if...

...we had an even bigger database that was accessible by even more people (all with ID cards of course) and and even 'guidier' and 'linier' set of guidelines.

I rushed up to tell Jacqui Smith the same thing the other day when she was in my street. Except I was shot 14 times in the head at point blank range because I might have been a terrorist. It's all ok though, the police assure me that they identified themselves as armed police.

Paris, cos she, like this country is getting regularly f**ked.

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The question no-one has (yet) asked

How did he know which targets were worth blackmailing?

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Flame

WTF? @Stuart Elliott

They're criminals, they deserve everything they get!

Erm, I rather thought they were "EX"-criminals and had served their time. Are you saying they:

(1) didn't serve their time in chokey?

(2) shouldn't have ever, ever been released? (you paying their upkeep?)

(3) should have been executed?

(4) should be happy to be blackmail subjects?

(5) that you're a douche and want that ticket to a tractor pull I have for you?

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Happy

Stop destroying the English language!

> No he did not, there is no such word as 'Texted'. Stop destroying the English language.

"there is no such word as 'Texted' " is an explanation of why "No he did not," is correct, and should therefore be preceded by a semicolon or dash rather than a comma. Stop destroying the English language!

"Stop destroying the English language." is an imperative command and should be followed by an exclamation mark rather than a full stop. Stop destroying the English language!

Or maybe just follow the common wisdom applying to people who live in glass houses...

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Anonymous Coward

HAHAHAHAH HAHAHAHAHA

" if anyone abuses it that is taken extremely seriously."

Yeah, if you just HAPPEN to catch them..

say...if a MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC REPORTS THE CRIME.

That is hardly taking security seriously, hardly protecting databases properly, hardly monitoring staff, hardly doing f*** all. This kind of thing could be going on 24/7 and they don't have a scooby until a member of the public outright TELLS them what is going on? Thank god members of the public actually have the balls to report stuff, otherwise no crimes would ever be solved. EVER.

(although in this case I don't care that much since they were scum in the first place. Although corrupt police ARE next on the list of scum after killers, rapists and child molestors...)

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