Officer 'used confidential police database to find woman on Instagram'
A police officer allegedly contacted a woman on social media after using a confidential database to track her down, a misconduct panel has heard.
The alleged incident happened in September 2021 when Derbyshire PC Jack Harrison attended a Co-Operative garage to make police inquiries. From here, he allegedly followed a woman who'd been at the store in his patrol car, although he did not stop to make any contact with her.
The misconduct hearing was told that after following the woman in his patrol car, Harrison carried out a Police National Computer (PNC) check on the woman's vehicle. The PNC is a national database of information for police officers, enforcement agencies and other UK bodies, and provides basic information about the owner of a vehicle.
Using the details retrieved on the PNC, Harrison is believed to have found the woman on Instagram, where he sent a heart-eyes emoji via direct message. The woman also claims that, months before the alleged incident, Harrison had made contact by sending her a flame emoji in response to one of her Instagram stories. She complained to Derbyshire police that Harrison's alleged actions on the day of the incident were "weird and creepy".
The allegations against Harrison were this week laid out by David Ring, a legal representative for Derbyshire Police, during a three-day misconduct hearing at the force's headquarters in Ripley. At the hearing – which is still ongoing – Harrison denied any wrongdoing and claimed he had followed the woman because she was driving suspiciously, and as such, he believed the car was stolen. He also denied searching for the woman on Instagram, instead claiming that she had come up as a "suggested follower".
An independent panel must now decide if the allegations are true and, if this is the verdict, they will decide on an appropriate punishment for Harrison.
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