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Lancashire
Saturday, June 15, 2024

Former police officer and wife jailed for misconduct

A former police officer has been jailed following an investigation into his misconduct.

Cameron Lee Hanson (33) of Packington Brook, Oswaldtwistle (main picture) who used to work as a response constable in the East Division, was jailed for 32 months at Manchester Crown Court on May 30.

His co-defendant wife, Kirstie Hanson (33) of the same address (pictured left) who worked as a member of police staff in the East Division, was sentenced to 18 months custody.

Charlotte Riley (30) who worked as a member of police staff in the East Division before resigning while under investigation, was given a two-year suspended custodial sentence.

In November 2021, officers from Lancashire Police’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) were made aware of a video on the mobile phone of Mrs Hanson, which had been recorded at the scene of a murder in Pendle. Enquiries found that the video was on the mobile phones of Mr Hanson and Riley.

Within 90 minutes of the existence of the video first being reported, phones belonging to the Hansons had been seized.

The Hansons were arrested later the same day and immediately suspended from duty while further enquiries were conducted. Riley was arrested in February 2022 following further enquiries which identified offending on her behalf.

Further evidence of the defendants’ offending was uncovered from their mobile phones.

Offending

Mr Hanson’s offending included:

  • Accessing police computer systems to look up crime incidents without having any policing purpose to do so. This was despite having received training around what constituted legitimate uses of police systems.
  • Recording body worn footage onto his personal mobile phone of incidents he attended and then forwarding them onto Mrs Hanson. This included an incident where a man had been murdered in Pendle, which Mrs Hanson later forwarded onto Riley.
  • Taking photographs at crime scenes and forwarding them onto Mrs Hanson. This included an incident where a man had died in non-suspicious circumstances. Mrs Hanson then forwarded that image onto a civilian contact in her phone and they speculated about whether the man’s death was suspicious.
  • Having attended an incident where a man had a head injury, Hanson later logged into police computer systems to access the injury photographs and copy them onto his personal mobile phone. They were later sent to Mrs Hanson. Riley asked Mrs Hanson if she could send over footage of the incident, but she instead forwarded on two images of the man’s injuries.
  • Sending messages containing derogatory content while dealing with incidents involving vulnerable people. This included a man in mental health crisis and comments about the mother of a toddler who had potentially been assaulted. He later sent an image of the child’s purported injury to Mrs Hanson.

Incidents specifically relating to Mrs Hanson included:

  • Sending sensitive information to a civilian contact in her phone. This included: a photograph taken on her personal phone of a police incident log in which she had circled a name who she referred to as a ‘big criminal’; the name of a person who the contact knew and stating that they had ‘had their car nicked’; naming the suspect of an investigation and stating the allegations against him.
  • Sending sensitive information to Mr Hanson. This included: an image taken on her personal phone which contained highly sensitive information relating to sex offenders; a message containing the name, age and town of a sex offender, asking if he knew him and then proceeding to send him details of the man’s current and past offences; and an image containing highly sensitive information relating to violent and sexual offenders.
  • Accessing police logs – without a policing purpose – to find out what was happening in specific areas of East Lancashire. This was at the behest of Riley who was not at work at the time and unable to access police systems.

In relation to Riley, she also sent Mrs Hanson a photograph of her computer screen taken on her personal screen. The image contained text fields that showed someone Kirstie knew was in custody.

Hanson pleaded guilty to seven counts of misconduct in public office: and two counts of causing a computer to perform a function to secure/enable unauthorised access to a program/ data. He was added to the Barred List and will face gross misconduct proceedings in due course.

Mrs Hanson pleaded guilty to eight counts of misconduct in public office; three counts of conspiring to cause a computer to perform a function to secure/enable unauthorised access to a program/ data; and one count of knowingly/recklessly obtaining or disclosing personal data without the consent of the controller.

Riley, of Carholme Avenue, Burnley, admitted three counts of misconduct in public office; and three counts of conspiracy to cause a computer to perform a function to secure/enable unauthorised access to a program/ data.

Damage to public confidence

DCI Eugene Swift, from our ACU, said: “The behaviour of these three individuals has no place in Lancashire Constabulary and damages public confidence and trust in the police at both a local and national level.

“When the existence of these videos first came to light we moved quickly to secure the phones and ensure no further offending could take place. A pro-active investigation was then launched, which identified further serious offending.

“My thoughts are with the victims of this offending and I hope today’s outcome will give them some sense of justice.

“I want to be clear that the overwhelming majority of police officers and police staff in Lancashire are law abiding, respectful and go to work to make a difference in the communities in which they serve. Where there is any evidence of wrongdoing by an officer or staff member, the ACU will carry out a proactive and robust investigation – as demonstrated in this case – and work with the Crown Prosecution Service to take the appropriate action.”

Deputy Chief Constable Sam Mackenzie said: “This case will understandably leave the public feeling concerned and I know both serving and retired officers and police staff will be left feeling appalled and let down by the behaviour of these three individuals.

“For Lancashire Constabulary, one instance is one too many and detracts from the hard work and commitment to protecting the public that our police officers and staff demonstrate on a daily basis.

“Our anti-corruption unit within our Professional Standards Department is proactively working to identify anyone – no matter role or rank – who chooses to engage in such deplorable behaviour which is completely incompatible with the values and standards of this force. Where such conduct is clearly demonstrated those offenders will lose the privilege of working for Lancashire Police and we will work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to put those individuals before the courts.”

 

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