Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Pc admits to police data snooping

Pc Adrian Merron (Pic: Ciaran Donnelly)
Image caption Pc Adrian Merron has admitted snooping through the force computer

A police officer has admitted snooping through the force computer and obtaining personal data about people.

Pc Adrian Merron, 46, a married dad-of-three, was due to face trial on a total of 58 charges.

The Lothian and Borders officer admitted 10 charges and the Crown accepted not guilty pleas to the rest.

Six of the charges were viewing records containing information relating to crimes of public indecency at various locations in Edinburgh.

One charge was looking at a domestic incident, another related to a drunk male, another was about intelligence on a female involved in prostitution.

The last charge involved the accused logging on to view an incident which related to a sexual assault on a female bus passenger in Edinburgh.

Fiscal depute Gillian More said computer audits were carried out which highlighted that Merron had viewed a large number of crime reports where it appeared he had no operational or other legitimate reason to do so.

Ms Moore said: "The police witnesses carried out the surveillance and established that the accused was regularly viewing personal information in crime reports, intelligence logs and operational incidents. His desktop activity on each computer was recorded by these officers."

Defence agent David Hunter said: "Although there is the statutory defence of accessing the information for police purposes that does not really apply here. His nose got the better of him and he was curious."

Mr Hunter added that Merron was authorised to use all of the systems, but likened the offence to a web user getting carried away on a news website.

Sheriff Derrick McIntyre asked Mr Hunter if Merron could be described as a "nosy parker" who was "filling in time"?

The solicitor replied: "There is really no legitimate reason for accessing the information other than curiosity."

Sheriff McIntyre adjourned the case until later this month to consider the sentence.

A Lothian and Borders police spokesman said: "On this occasion our proactive work and auditing systems showed that Constable Merron was misusing this data for his own purposes. There is no suggestion that he has passed this information to any other person."

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