Page last updated at 15:16 GMT, Tuesday, 13 July 2004 16:16 UK

Police staff spied on boyfriends

A major security alert began at an east London police station when two workers used its criminal database to check up on their boyfriends, a court heard.

Covert police operations in Hackney were suspended after the breach was discovered at Stoke Newington station.

On Tuesday, Davina Kirwan and Sunshes Pyke-Williams, both 21, were jailed for two months for misconduct.

The judge at Southwark Crown Court told them: "By your actions... you broke the trust that had been given to you."

'Foolish and immature'

The court heard Kirwan, a communications officer, and receptionist Pyke-Williams, carried out unauthorised confidential searches between July 2001 and August 2002.

As well as their boyfriends, who both had criminal records, and their associates, the women also made checks on law-abiding members of their own families.

Other crime units became reluctant to pass on intelligence to Stoke Newington for fear of information going astray.

And undercover operations were suspended for six months during the two-year investigation into suspected leaks.

The court heard Kirwan, of Elsham Road, Leytonstone, made scores of checks on Tshikedi Duggan, the father of her child, using the Police National Computer.

"She wanted to check up on what he was up to because she had grave doubts about his activities," said Alison Levitt, defending.

The impact of these two girls' actions was severe and could have damaged the reputation of the police
Detective Superintendent Trevor Smith

Kirwan also checked up on relatives with no criminal connections - including her own mother, the court heard.

"It was foolish and immature rather than something akin to corruption," said Ms Levitt.

Pyke-Williams, of Broomfield Road, West Ealing, looked up her boyfriend Corey Briscoe and his associates on the criminal intelligence database, the court heard.

Her lawyer, Anuja Dhir, said Pyke-Williams had been "foolish" and was devastated by the proceedings.

But neither were charged with passing on the information to their partners or others.

Outside court, Detective Superintendent Trevor Smith, said: "The impact of these two girls' actions was severe and could have damaged the reputation of the police to be trusted to deal with information given to them by the public."

Update: On 15 December 2004 the Court of Appeal reduced Davina Kirwan's sentence to a conditional discharge for 12 months.

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