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Police officer jailed for leaking information to convicted criminal

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WEST Midlands Police has promised ‘no hiding place’ for any officers who believe they’re above the law and let the public down by abusing their position in the force.

The warning comes as a former detective was jailed for carrying out illegal searches on police IT systems and leaking confidential information to a convicted drug dealer.

Daniel Watts was sacked on 29 August last year by West Midlands Police for gross misconduct – admitted passing details of police intelligence gathering to Stephen Hunt, including whether officers were planning to arrest criminal associates or carry out raids.

A court heard that 31-year-old Watts – who joined West Midlands Police in 2001 – first made checks for Hunt in April 2005 whilst the 33-year-old was on trial for drug supply but continued up until his arrest in October 2012.

Watts, from Chester Road in Erdington, admitted conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and at Stafford Crown Court on October 18 was jailed for 28 months.

An application to seize all or part of his police pension is underway with the final decision on how much to confiscate being taken by the Home Secretary.

Hunt, from Edge Hill Road in West Heath, denied the same offence but was found guilty following a trial; he was also sent to prison for 28 months and handed an additional 10-years behind bars for drug dealing.

A crown court judge had placed reporting restrictions on the misconduct case but they were lifted yesterday (Jan 13) when Hunt’s drugs trial concluded at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Superintendent Tim Godwin from West Midlands Police’s Professional Standards Department – the unit tasked with investigating allegations of officer misconduct – said the force demanded the upmost integrity and professionalism from all its officers and staff.

He said: “Police officers take a vow to serve the public and uphold the law with fairness, integrity and impartiality. Any that fall short of those standards, or who abuse their position, will face disciplinary action, the prospect of criminal prosecution and potential dismissal.

“No police officer is above the law. Daniel Watts was a rogue officer who believed he could discretely pass information to a friend in the criminal fraternity – but we have a dedicated team of anti-corruption officers whose job is to uncover any misconduct.

“As soon as Watts’ was suspected of acting improperly an investigation was launched that resulted in his arrested and suspension from duty. He was subsequently sacked by the Chief Constable at an internal hearing, following his guilty plea in court, and has now been jailed.

“His police career is over and he faces the prospect of having his police pension seized; he’s rightly paid a very high price for these breaches of trust and position.”

The court heard that Watts was repeatedly “tasked” by Hunt to obtain information from police computer systems; some of the information related to him personally whilst other material concerned Hunt’s criminal associates.

His illegal IT activity was exposed on 3 March last year when police raided the home of a crime suspect in Northfield where a mobile phone was seized containing a text message that, via another phone, was traced to a mobile used by Watts.

Enquiries showed the message, concerning police warrants executed at addresses of crime suspects, was accurate and could only have been provided from police systems…and that it was confidential information.

Anti-corruption officers were able to prove the message originated from a phone attributable to Watts and was sent when he was on duty and using a police computer work station.

In interview the former detective with Force CID admitted his system checks weren’t for legitimate police business but rather “out of curiosity” or to check the accuracy of what he was being told by Hunt.

At the start of their friendship Watts said the checks were conducted to ensure he wasn’t associating with a criminal – and he claimed not to have sent any confidential or sensitive information, or anything Hunt wouldn’t already have known.

However, he was charged on 29 November 2012 with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and later went on to admit the offence in court.

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College appoints new non-executive members

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The College of Policing has appointed three new non-executive directors. They join the college as independent members of the college of policing’s board.

The new members who have been appointed are Clare Minchington, Ian Wylie and Jackie Smith.

All three members are independent which means they come from a non-policing background, to offer a fresh approach within the college.

Over the next few months, the College will be arranging some local force visits and meetings with national partners for Clare, Jackie and Ian as part of an induction programme introducing them to the police service.

They replace Sir Denis O’Connor and Professor Larry Sherman who stepped down in December 2017, and Millie Banerjee who was appointed the chair of the board in November 2017.

Millie Banerjee, Chair of the College of Policing, said:

“I am pleased to welcome our three new appointees and look forward to working with them. Now that the College’s board is at full strength we are well placed to work closely with the executive on our ambitious plans to better support policing.

Chief Constable Mike Cunningham, CEO of the College of Policing, said:

“Our three new appointees bring great expertise and experience from membership and regulatory bodies as well as academia. This can only be of benefit to the College, our members and the public that we serve so I look forward to working with them as we go forward.”

All three attended their first board meeting in July.

Clare Minchington is currently the Chair of BPP University and a Council Member and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee for the General Optical Council.

Ian Wylie has been Chief Executive of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists since September 2010.

Jackie Smith joins having previously been chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council for over six years.

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Man arrested on suspicion of murdering woman known to him

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A 30-year-old man has now been arrested in hartlepool on suspicion of murder in connection with an incident on Oxford Road in Hartlepool yesterday evening.

Cleveland Police had been urgently seeking to trace 30-year-old Torbjorn Kettlewell, also known as Ian Kettlewell, from Hartlepool, who they would like to speak to in connection with the murder of a woman on Oxford Road in Hartlepool.

Members of the public had been warned not to approach him, but to contact police on 999 if they see him or know of his whereabouts.

Police are unable to name the victim at this time, but can say that she is a woman believed to be aged in her late twenties and steps are ongoing to formally identify the woman later today.

Officers were called to Oxford Road near to Chaucer Avenue just after 9pm on Friday 3rd August, to a report of a woman with significant injuries. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Chief Superintendent Alastair Simpson said: “Firstly, my thoughts and sympathies are with the family of the woman who was tragically killed last night. Specially trained officers are supporting the family at this extremely difficult time.

“As part of our enquiries we would urgently like to speak to Torbjorn Kettlewell, also known as Ian Kettlewell, who is from the Hartlepool area.

He is described as being 6ft tall with ginger hair and a beard. At the time he was believed to be wearing jeans and a grey checked shirt or top and it is possible that he left the area in a red Vauxhall Astra or Insignia type vehicle. I would urge people not to approach him, but to call 999 if they see him.

“Residents in the local area will naturally be shocked by what has happened and I would like to reassure them that we have a dedicated team who are working tirelessly on this case and all the necessary specialist resources are being made available to them.

“Our enquiries so far have led detectives to believe that this was a targeted attack.

“There is a visible police presence in and around the area of the murder. Anyone in the local community who has concerns can approach any of these officers and speak to them about this incident.”

Anyone with information who does not wish to speak directly can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Congratulations John Apter new police fed chair

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Rank and File officers have voted, and the winner has been announced following a respectful campaign.

The Police Federation has announced the new national federation chair as John Apter, in a historic vote which allowed federation members to vote for their new chair for the first time.

John Apter has now been announced as the Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales.

John Apter a very prolific tweeter had chaired Hampshire Police Federation was announced as the first National Chair which was voted by frontline police officers, and members of the federation.

A move which could see special constables allowed to join and benefit from Police Federation membership something which Apter has been very public about supporting.

The new voting process to elect a new national police chair was part of reforms following recommendations made within an independent review of the Federations in 2014.

Apter went head to head with Phil Matthews who currently leads on Conduct and Performance within the Police Federation. Matthews ran a respectful campaign. However, the highly profiled Apter stood out to the rank and file membership.

John started his career in policing in 1992, working in response, roads policing and as part of a specialist team investigating road deaths, before being voted in as Chair of Hampshire Police Federation in 2010.

The National Chair plays a key role in the organisation – ensuring members’ welfare and interests are voiced, acting as principal spokesperson and representing the organisation on a national level.

This was the first time members have been able to vote for their National Chair – a big step forward for the organisation.

John will take over from the current Chair Calum Macleod from Wednesday 1 August 2018.

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