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Retired Wrexham cop jailed for tipping off criminals

Published date: 22 August 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A RETIRED police sergeant who admitted misconduct in public office has been jailed for 17 months. 
 
Robert Wyn Jones, 50, was told by a judge that he had let down his fellow officers, the public and put a member of the public at risk. 
 
A crown court heard how a landlord of a pub in the Wrexham area tipped police off that people were in posession of drugs on his premises. 
 
But Jones, who was working as the custody sergeant at the local police station, looked up the information and passed it on to a woman he was having an affair with – the brother of one of those suspected of drugs offences. 
 
Two months later that suspect went to the pub and told how he had a copy of the event log created by the police after the tip-off, explained prosecuting barrister Jayne La Grua at Mold Crown Court. 
 
Jones also admitted a separate Data Protection Act Offence where he accessed a confidential police system to look up details of a second woman he had been having an affair with, her son who was suspected of arson and manslaughter at one stage, and her previous partners. 
 
Bernadette Baxter, defending, stressed the offending was not for financial gain or criminal purposes but said it was pure stupidity by an officer who went off the rails for a three-month period during an otherwise blemish-free 30-year career in the police service. 
 
He had been going through a bad patch and pressed the self-destruct button. 
 
Judge Rhys Rowlands told him he had behaved very badly and a prison sentence was required to dissuade others from such behaviour. 
 
“Police officers are trusted and given significant powers. 
 
“Those who breach those powers must expect to go to prison,” he said. 
 
The police service was rightly entrusted with very wide powers and privileges and the public and fellow police officers were entitled to expect those who had such powers behaved responsibility in relation to them, he said. 
 
“You fell very far short of what was expected of you,” Judge Rowlands said. 
 
“You abused that trust and let down both your fellow officers and the general public.” 
 
The judge said he wholly accepted his behaviour was not borne out of any attempt at monetary gain but were ill-fated attempts to curry favour with two women he was seeing at the time. 
 
His behaviour, particularly in relation to the confidential report provided by the licensee, was “reprehensible”, he said. 
 
The licensee, in ringing the police with his suspicions, had behaved impeccably but in doing so he had put himself at risk. 
 
He was entitled to expect that his actions would be kept confidential. 
 
“Instead, you got your hands on that information and within minutes you rang your girlfriend at the time who was at the pub with her family. 
 
“You exchanged a series of texts with her. 
 
“Before finishing that night, you printed off the information and passed it on to your girlfriend. 
 
“She passed the information on to her brother. 
 
“You placed that licensee and his family at real risk.” 
 
The second charge was not as serious but it “demonstrates to me that your behaviour cannot be viewed as an isolated aberration,” the judge said. 
 
“The public must have confidence that information held about them by the police is not going to be accessed or disseminated by police officers acting simply for their own purposes, as you did.” 
 
It was, he said, a breach of a high degree of trust. 
 
Jones, of Greenfield Road in Ruthin, pleaded guilty to a charge that in September 2012 he accessed a police report when not authorised to do so and passed on details to a member of the public when she was not authorised to receive it. 
 
He admitted a second charge under the Data Protection Act that in November and December of 2012, he unlawfully obtained and disclosed personal data of a woman he met at the police station when she attended with her son who was suspected of arson and, at one stage, manslaughter. 
 
Miss Baxter, defending, said Jones was genuinely remorseful. 
 
He had the support of his wife, a serving police officer, his father, a proud retired police officer, and other family and friends. 
 
Jones had always accepted what he had done but his previous not guilty pleas had been based on simply what label should be attached to his wrongdoing. 
 
Jones had given the police service 30 years of his life but four years ago he was assaulted in a public house while trying to stop drug dealing. 
 
It affected his confidence and attitude to life and caused difficulties within the marriage. 
 
While his wife always maintained her support for him, it led to infidelity on his part and a separation between the two of them. 
 
Jones knew there was an element of risk taking, and self-destruction in the behaviour he was to take in relation to the two women he got involved with. 
 
The information from the pub landlord was accessed out of jealousy. He believed his girlfriend was at home but learned she was out and about in the pub. The information had not been passed directly to her brother. 
 
He accessed the information on the second woman because he did not want to be associated with an active criminal. 
 
It was a “misguided and ill-thought-out action” over a very short period of time. 
 
Miss Baxter said: “He understands he will pay a heavy price,” she said. 
 
She suggested a suspended jail term, describing his offending as “a moment of madness”.

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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