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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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Boy 15 Murdered in launched in Sheffield

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A murder investigation has been launched this evening after a 15-year-old boy died in hospital following an incident in the Lowedges area of Sheffield.

Police received reports at around 7.50pm tonight, that a 15-year-old boy had been stabbed on Lowedges Road.

He was taken to hospital where he died an hour later.

Eyewitnesses have told Police Hour they heard a “15-year-old lad had been stabbed, we heard lots of sirens for over an hour.

“Lots of police and ambulance workers ascended into the area and a huge cordon was put in place’

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Policing welcomes Home Secretary Sajid Javid positivity and support offering olive branch in Police Federation address

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The policing world has welcomed the warming and supportive words of new Home Secretary Sajid Javid. We believe he is the first Home Secretary who knows policing.

And thats because it’s in his families blood, he has a lot of great things to say about policing.

An understanding of policing on another level. He knows demand is up, funds are low and the job is tough.

Offering cops the tools they need to get the job done without worrying about stopping and searching suspects.

He has backed an increased use of stop and search to tackle the spate of violence on Britain’s streets.

Sajid Javid speech was received with warmth as he promised to prioritise police spending as he offered an olive branch to rank-and-file officers.

Mr Javid was welcomed to the Police Fed conference and received support from the front line cops following Amber Rudds poor reception last year over budget cuts and staffing reductions.

This was a testing first speech the Home Secretary who wanted to try and draw a line under the era of running battles between the Government and the police.

Following mounting pressures faced by officers faced with policing cuts.

As of September there were 121,929 officers across the 43 territorial forces in England and Wales – a fall of nearly 20,000 compared with a decade earlier.

Referring to stop and search, he told the Police Federation of England and Wales’ (PFEW) annual conference in Birmingham: “Some of you don’t feel comfortable using it – and that’s not how it should be.

“I have confidence in your professional judgment. So let me be clear – I support the use of stop and search.

“You have to do your job and that means protecting everyone.”

He said evidence shows that black people are more likely to be a homicide victim than any other ethnic group.

“If stop and search can mean saving lives from the communities most affected, then of course that has to be right,” Mr Javid said.

Following a spate of violence across London and the UK there has been a sharp reduction in stop and search activity , with use of the powers at the lowest level.

Cops faced heavy criticism after they were accused of unfairly focusing on black and minority ethnic individuals.

Theresa May introduced measures in 2014 to ensure stop and search could not be used in this way.

Mr Javid acknowledged that police officers have an increased demand saying “I’m not arrogant enough to turn up here after three weeks in the job and tell you how to do yours,”

Mr Javid added that the government have had to make difficult decisions since 2010 and that he does not have a magic wand to fund everything needed but he said he was “listening and i do get it”.

“We need to think more about the long-term funding of policing.

“I will priorities police funding in the Spending Review next year.”

He said that, including funds raised through council tax, more than £1 billion extra cash is being invested in policing now than three years ago.

Addressing the fact that he had not spent much time in the role, he said that while the position of Home Secretary was his fifth in Government, he had seen the issues involved in policing and worked with the service during his other roles.

He continued that it was “not all about funding” and the Government needed to do more to “protect the protectors”, such as tougher penalties for those who attack emergency services workers, changing the laws on police pursuits, and updating their kit.

Mr Javid pledged to provide “tools, the powers and the back-up that you need to get the job done…

“For those of you who stand on the front line, be in no doubt that I will be standing with you.”

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Man stabbed in horrific road rage incident in Small Heath

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A man in his 20s has suffered life-changing injuries after being stabbed following a road rage incident at 5.30pm

The motorist was stabbed in the horror attack on Coventry Road in Small Heath.

Police say the victim, aged in his 20s, suffered ‘life changing’ injuries in the attack at 5.30pm on Tuesday.

They are now hunting the knifemen who fled the scene after the broad daylight attack.

The air ambulance later landed close to the scene of the incident near Aubrey Road and took the victim to hospital.

A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said: “Police were called after a man was injured on Coventry Road, Small Heath shortly after 5.30pm today (22 May).

“It is believed a dispute took place after a road traffic collision and a man in his 20’s suffered serious knife injuries.

“He has been taken to hospital where his condition is described as life changing.

“The offender is believed to have fled.

“Police are currently at the scene, which has been cordoned off and forensic enquiries are being conducted.

“No arrests have been made and anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101 quoting log number 2006 of 22 May.”

Dramatic pictures showed a number of police cars in the Coventry Road /Aubrey Road area, with a large part of the road cordoned off.

Crowds of onlookers had gathered at the scene.

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