A former Lincolnshire policewoman gave her log-in details to a then-colleague who used it to access restricted data. Laura Vickers enjoyed the attention from colleague PC Joshua Hammerton, a court was told.
The two former Lincolnshire Police officers were sentenced separately at Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday (September 5) for misconduct in a public office. Hammerton pleaded guilty to a further charge of unauthorised access to computer material – after he searched police computers for himself with his own log-in details and with Vickers’s details, reports Nottinghamshire Live.
Hammerton, who joined Lincolnshire Police in 2017, was a serving officer with Vickers at Gainsborough Police Station. They worked different shifts but occasionally worked together doing overtime.
The 28-year-old used his own log-in to search the names of specific women as well as his own name – after an error in the administration allowed Vickers access to restricted information.
By June 28, 2020, it was clear Hammerton was aware Vickers had access to restricted material – which neither Hammerton or Vickers should have viewed. Hammerton made requests to Vickers to view incidents which were the subject of restricted material.
Abi Joyce, prosecuting, said: “He dealt with an individual who was clearly injured as a result of his arrest by a number of police officers and he (Hammerton) requested the custody photo of that individual.” Vickers voluntarily sent the custody details and record – after Hammerton chased her for the photo.
At Hammerton’s request, Vickers accessed more restricted material, including one incident he said was “huge”. He chased this up again with her, and she passed on her log-in details to him.
He even asked her to check if a complaint had been made about him – but she said it was not about him – but a firearms licence complaint. His activities led to his arrest – and he went on to enter his pleas to the charges.
Hammerton, who resigned as a result of the case, was handed an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, with 200 hours of unpaid work in the community and tagged curfew between 9pm and 6am for three months.
Judge James Sampson told Hammerton: “You will never work as a police officer again.”
A police misconduct hearing last month found Hammerton breached the standards of professional behaviour when he pleaded guilty to the criminal charges of Misconduct in Public Office, and two counts of Computer Misuse. The chair, Chief Constable Chris Haward, found the breach proven and that it amounted to gross misconduct.
The outcome of the hearing was that Hammerton would have been dismissed without notice, had he not already resigned. Meanwhile, Vickers, who had a trial and was convicted on July 12 this year, received eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months, 150 hours of unpaid work and 35 rehabilitation activity days.
Aged 37 and a mum, the judge said at all material times she was a serving police officer and held the public office of police constable. “As with Hammerton, you were in a privileged, trusted position,” he said.
“Having heard evidence of the trial, I do not accept you did anything at all to inform the authorities about your restricted access. You did inform Hammerton.
“You, like Hammerton, abused your position as a police officer by accessing restricted data or giving him your password to access restricted data or using that data. During the trial you claimed to the jury you were the victim of controlling and coercive behaviour. I don’t accept you were.
“You were clearly besotted by Joshua Hammerton.” A misconduct hearing in her case found she breached the standards of professional behaviour and that it amounted to gross misconduct. She was dismissed without notice.