DEVON and Cornwall Police officers disciplined in the wake of a corruption investigation into the leaking of confidential information to private detectives were let off with a "slap on the wrist", according to an MP.
Eleven police officers, five support staff, prison guards and benefits agency employees were among the suspects identified in a two-year police inquiry into illegal data checks.
Operation Reproof uncovered an alleged web of leaked information, from Devon and Cornwall officers, among others, to a network of private investigators.
It would lead to two further national investigations into the activities of private investigators selling information to members of the Press – a relationship being examined at the Leveson inquiry after the phone hacking scandal.
Devon and Cornwall's operation resulted in six men – two serving police officers, two former officers and two private investigators – being charged in 2004 although the case collapsed in the courts in 2006.
It can now be revealed that five police officers later faced internal disciplinary proceedings – with a written warning being the stiffest punishment meted out.
Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw, who was instrumental in getting details of Operation Reproof heard at the Leveson inquiry, said: "It does seem odd that at the end of one of the most expensive and lengthy investigations carried out by Devon and Cornwall Police, in which they found evidence that was apparently strong enough to take to trial, that more severe action was not taken against the police officers involved. It appears to me to be little more than a slap on the wrist. I am seeking a meeting with the chief constable for his views and whether or not he is satisfied with the way the aftermath of the inquiry was handled."
My comment: That's what you get when a body is allowed to investigate it's own staff, whether that be the Police, a council or the government.
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