Beds, Herts & Bucks

Hertfordshire PCSO jailed for leaking stories

A Hertfordshire police community support officer has been jailed for a year for leaking confidential information to the press.

Emma Smiter, 26, of Welwyn Garden City, was found guilty of misconduct in a public office and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

She passed on information gleaned from police computers to the news agency INS, Basildon Crown Court heard.

The former reporter with the Welwyn and Hatfield Times had denied the charges.

The court heard the information she leaked appeared in newspapers such as The Sun and Daily Mirror.

Smiter's illegal tip-offs included one which related to an allegation of attempted murder.

'Just friends'

The material, gleaned from Hertfordshire Police computers, was passed to a news agency journalist and then on to the wider media.

Smiter had denied the charges and said she used police computers and e-mails only for legitimate reasons.

She told jurors she knew Neil Hyde, a director of the INS news agency, but said they had been "just friends".

Prosecutors told the court she gave details of police inquiries to Mr Hyde, who passed the information on to newspapers.

One accusation was that she told the news agency about a charity box at a police station in Borehamwood being £12 short.

Prosecutors said Smiter breached the trust placed in her by the police and the public.

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