Beds, Herts & Bucks

PC Hannah Quince jailed for illicit police computer search

Hannah Quince
Image caption Hannah Quince made "illicit" searches of police computer systems

A policewoman who searched the force computer to look through confidential files on behalf of her boyfriend has been jailed for 15 months.

PC Hannah Quince, 29, was found guilty of misconduct after she passed information from a Bedfordshire Police computer in Luton to Christopher Shri.

He then tipped off his friend Ben Sturge, who was set to be arrested.

Passing sentence Judge Andrew Bright QC at St Albans Crown Court said she had betrayed the trust of colleagues.

Quince has since resigned from Bedfordshire Police.

Quince, a former national gymnast champion, logged on to a number of computerised search systems used by the force.

'Betrayal of public'

She wanted to find out what her colleagues in the guns and gangs unit had on the man who was a close friend of her own boyfriend.

The police constable made sure not to go onto the Police National Computer because she knew any checks and enquiries she made would show up.

What she did not realise however was that Bedfordshire Police had installed special software on its computer systems so that any unauthorised searches would be flagged up.

Passing sentence Judge Bright QC told her: "On any view, Hannah Quince, this was a gross betrayal of your police colleagues and of the public you were employed to serve."

Quince's boyfriend Shri, 30, who had persuaded her to carry out the illegal searches was jailed for nine months.

And his friend from school days, Sturge, 30, who had wanted to know what it was the police had on him was also jailed for nine months.

Cocaine use

All three had been found guilty by a jury earlier of conspiracy to commit an act of misconduct in a public office.

Quince also pleaded guilty to an offence of possessing 9g of cocaine found at her home in Garfield Street, Bedford.

During her evidence to the jury she also admitted that while a student at De Montford University she had occasionally taken cocaine.

She then told the court that after joining the police in 2004 she never took the drug until two years later when she began a relationship with another officer referred to only as MC, who was a heavy user of cocaine, who has since resigned.

Before being sentenced, her barrister Michael Boardman said Quince had told the police during her interview that her use of drugs had ruined her life.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites