Former Bedfordshire Police staff member given suspended prison sentence for corruption

A former Bedfordshire Police staff member who shared “confidential information with an external party” has received a suspended prison sentence.

Jul 10, 2024
By Paul Jacques

An investigation into corruption allegations directed by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found Lauren Thomas, who was a vehicle liaison officer, accessed vehicle searches linked to herself or vehicles linked to crime without a policing purpose

She then passed on this  information to a third party.

At Luton Crown Court she sentenced to ten months imprisonment, suspended for two years  after pleading guilty to misconduct in public office (MIPO) for sharing confidential information with an external party.

Ms Thomas must also complete 100 hours of unpaid work and has been ordered to pay £1,500 in costs.

The IOPC began its investigation in May 2022 following a referral from the joint Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire (BCH) professional standards department. Investigative inquiries were carried out by officers from the BCH Anti-Corruption Unit under the IOPC’s direction.

“Between April 2021 and July 2022, Ms Thomas was employed as a vehicle liaison officer and an information rights officer.

“The investigation found that during this period, Ms Thomas accessed information through vehicle searches linked to herself or vehicles linked to crime without a policing purpose and shared this information with an external party.”

In January 2023, the IOPC referred a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service, which authorised four charges against the police staff member.

Ms Thomas resigned from the force in July 2022 while she was under investigation.

She was acquitted of conspiracy to commit MIPO, and charges under the Computer Misuse Act (1990) and Data Protection Act (2018) will lie on file.

IOPC Director of Operations Steve Noonan said: “Through her role at Bedfordshire Police, Lauren Thomas had access to sensitive and confidential information on police systems. She abused the position of trust placed on her by accessing and passing on information to a third party with no policing purpose.

“Offending of this nature is rightly treated seriously and she has now been convicted of a criminal offence. Any police officer or staff member who acts in this manner should be aware that they risk facing criminal charges.”

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