Fine for Edinburgh data snooping policeman

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Pc Adrian Merron (Pic: Ciaran Donnelly)
Image caption,
Pc Adrian Merron has been fined £4,800 for snooping through the force computer

A police officer who admitted snooping through the force computer and obtaining personal data about people has been fined £4,800.

Pc Adrian Merron, 46, was due to stand trial on a total of 58 charges.

But 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 about crimes of public indecency. Merron is still suspended from the force while inquiries are carried out.

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

The last charge involved the accused logging on to view information relating to a sex assault on a female bus passenger in Edinburgh.

Fiscal depute Gillian More 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."

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."

A Lothian and Borders police spokesman said: "While he has been under investigation he has been suspended from duty and has had no access to any data systems.

"He will remain suspended while consideration is given to any breaches of the police conduct regulations."