Serving Merseyside Police Officer sentenced for accessing files

29/09/2017

A serving Merseyside Police officer, described by a judge as a "magpie", has been sentenced for accessing police files for "his own curiosity".

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Grant McCabe, 43, had been a uniformed officer with the force for 15 years.

He’s been sentenced for accessing the force’s ‘Niche’ computer system and obtaining personal data for ‘non-policing purposes’. McCabe pleaded guilty to 14 offences. 7 offences under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998 and 7 offences under section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

The court heard that checks were carried out on McCabe over a period of nine years between 2007–2016 and revealed that the illegal searches were all linked to McCabe’s personal circumstances in some way.

Several of his searches related to McCabe’s former partner. McCabe met her when he’d been called to a domestic abuse incident in 2005 and she’d been a witness. The two eventually started dating and lived together for several years before breaking up in 2016. McCabe made several illegal searches on himself, her, her relatives and former partners.

McCabe had gone on to form another relationship with another woman. He had also carried out illegal searches in Niche on her and one of her former partners.

Richard Riley, Senior Crown Prosecutor with Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service said: “ Merseyside Police regulations state that no-one must search Niche for “non-policing purposes”. A warning about the consequences of doing so appear at the start of any Niche session so there is no doubt that McCabe would have been aware that what he was doing was illegal.

“Yet he continued on numerous occasions, although the reasons for his searches are unclear.  When data control and audit officials in Merseyside Police caught up with him, he told officers that he did the searches out of curiosity and admitted he’d made a stupid mistake.

“The public has the right to expect the highest of standards by its police officers and McCabe’s actions clearly fell shorty of that over several years.

“Grant McCabe’s career is now in ruins and he has only himself to blame.”

McCabe was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years, and must do 200 hours of unpaid community. He is on an electronic curfew for 6 months, from 7pm-7am and must pay £800 costs to the CPS.