• Posted by: Lucas Allen
  • UK
  • On March 12, 2014, midnight
A police force faces a fine from the information commissioner and compensation claims from thousands of motorists after an officer stole accident victims' details from a police computer and sold them on to personal injury solicitors. Sugra Hanif, a constable with Thames Valley police, was jailed for three and a half years on Wednesday for conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. She and her co-conspirator, Raza Khan, who was jailed for three years, earned up to £800 for each referral. Winchester crown court was told the force could be fined up to £500,000 by the information commissioner for what was described as an unprecedented breach, and that as many as 5,000 people could seek compensation. The force said Hanif, 27, had been dismissed. Detective Chief Superintendent Tim De Meyer, head of professional standards, said: "This was a serious case of corruption and it is right that she was dismissed from the force. The thorough investigation of her crime shows how seriously Thames Valley police takes these matters." Prosecuting, Peter Asteris said Hanif would access the force's command and control computer and the personal details of people involved in road accidents. She would note the unique reference number (URN) each incident was given. Using the name Sarah Gold, Hanif would ring victims, tell them she was from a company called SR Auto Repairs and encourage them to claim compensation. Hanif, from Banbury, Oxfordshire, and Khan, also 27, from Handsworth, Birmingham, then passed the data to solicitors. They would be paid for each referral that led to a successful compensation claim. The court was told that the pair believed they could make £1m from the scam. Hanif claimed she was forced by Khan to steal the data, while Khan claimed he did not know the information was being obtained illegally. Judge Andrew Barnett said Hanif had damaged public confidence in the force and told her: "You are a disgrace to the uniform you once wore. You have behaved in an appalling fashion, breaching time and time again the trust placed in you by the public and those that employ you. "You have let down the police service and you have let down your colleagues. The reputation of Thames Valley police has been tarnished by your actions." A confiscation hearing will be heard at a later date when the prosecution will try to reclaim the money made by Hanif and Khan.
Source: www.theguardian.com


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