Former Northamptonshire special constable guilty of gross misconduct after unauthorised search on police computer

“Data breaches such as this have a serious impact on public confidence," says disciplinary panel report

Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 9:29 am

A police disciplinary panel has ruled a former Northamptonshire special constable would have been sacked for logging into a confidential database while off duty.

Ross Dykes admitted using police computer systems to carry out a detailed search for a 'non-policing purpose' on Christmas Eve 2020.

He later lied to detectives when quizzed about why he had accessed the information searching for information on a person who had been arrested and released the previous day.

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Former special constable Ross Dykes faced a disciplinary hearing before Christmas

Dykes has since left the Special Constabulary although a report published on Tuesday (January 4) following last month's hearing ruled he would have been dismissed without notice.

The report stated: "Officer Dykes did express remorse and the incident stemmed from curiosity but that does not detract from its seriousness in this context.

“Data breaches such as this have a serious impact on public confidence. The circumstances are compounded by dishonesty when accounting for his actions in this investigation.

“This panel has found that there were two breaches of standards of professional behaviour, each in and of themselves are serious.

“In our judgement both admitted and proven allegations amount to gross misconduct. Accordingly, dismissal without notice is an appropriate determination."

The panel heard how Dykes had accessed force systems on December 24 and conducted a 'detailed find’ of the custody system.

He then conducted a 'detailed find' operation for information about the person detained, providing 652 results. The officer accessed the record of the detained person, which was the only name from the list he accessed.

On January 8, Dykes was asked to explain his reasons for searching and accessing the information but 'gave a false account to investigating officers with the intention of misleading them.'