Page last updated at 15:32 GMT, Thursday, 18 December 2008

Pc jailed over blackmail attempts

Amerdeep Johal
Pc Johal claimed he was threatened by two men

A former Metropolitan Police officer has been sentenced to six years in prison for blackmailing 11 sex offenders and suspected criminals.

Pc Amerdeep Singh Johal, 29, from Ilford, east London, used the force's criminal intelligence system, CrimInt, to access and download their details.

Johal was found guilty on 12 counts of blackmail and one count of misconduct in a public office at the Old Bailey.

He claimed he sent the blackmail letters last July under duress.

Jurors rejected Johal's tearful claim that he had been forced to send out the blackmail letters by two men who had approached him and threatened his family.

Police officers are in a position of power - the public has to have complete faith that that power will not be abused
Judge Gerald Gordon

Judge Gerald Gordon told him: "You grossly abused your position as someone with access to the confidential police intelligence programme in order to obtain highly sensitive information for your own purposes.

"Police officers are in a position of power, and real power, over ordinary members of the community.

"The public has to have complete faith that that power will not be abused."

Johal was a police constable working in a backroom role at London's West End Central police station.

All those he targeted were based in the Redbridge, east London.

Letters sent out were identical except for the amounts demanded, which were either 29,000 or 31,000. No victims paid up.

Outside court, Det Insp Nick Joyce said: "Such abuse of trust is extremely rare but, when it does occur, the MPS has robust processes in place to track down the culprit quickly and deal with them appropriately.

"This case is proof that these processes function efficiently and successfully."

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