No jail for ex-Telford cop who used police database to contact women

A former Telford police officer who used the police database to track down women's details has been given a suspended prison sentence.

 Shrewsbury Crown Court
Shrewsbury Crown Court

Gary Brennan, 41, also used his work mobile phone to send intimate images to a fragile woman he met while on duty.

Brennan pleaded guilty to two counts of misconduct in public office relating to the incidents which happened while he was based at Malinsgate Police Station.

The charges relate to text messages sent to two women he met during the course of his work and use of the Police National Computer to track their contact details from 2007 to 2018.

Brennan blamed his behaviour on not being able to fit in at West Mercia Police.

He was employed by the force for 17 years before resigning when the matters came to light two years ago.

Sentencing him at Shrewsbury Crown Court, Judge Peter Barrie told Brennan that he was troubled by him accessing the Police National Computer to research information about the women.

"The database has a great deal of confidential information police officers have an absolute and fundamental duty to respect that confidence.

"It undermines trust in the force when the public find that a police officer for personal purposes made use of that material."

The judge also said: "It is clear from what she said, that she was in a fragile state of mental health. She expresses that it caused her harm over the years

"After much visible hesitation, my conclusions are these.

"If you had been convicted by a jury in prompt proceedings the shortest sentence you could have been given would have been 12 months imprisonment.

"You are entitled to one third credit for your guilty plea.

"I am just persuaded by a range of circumstances. If I had been dealing with this a year ago it would undoubtedly be different."

Mitigating barrister Mr Nicholas Walker said although the incidents had taken place over a long period of time, they were isolated.

"He recognises that he is in a very serious position," Mr Walker said.

He asked the judge to take into account the defendant's guilty plea, the two-year delay before the case was brought before the courts, his resignation and his personal circumstances.

Brennan, of Elderberry Close, The Rock, Telford, was sentenced to a total of eight months imprisonment suspended for 18 months.

He must attend 35 rehabilitation activity days; and carry 120 hours unpaid work in the community. He was made subject to an indefinite restraining order preventing him from contacting one of the complainants in any way.

Following the sentencing on Friday, West Mercia Police said the former officer was subject to misconduct proceedings in October 2018. That hearing found that his conduct amounted to gross misconduct and concluded that he would have been dismissed, had he still been a member of the force.

Head of the West Mercia Police Professional Standards Department, Superintendent Rebecca Love said: “We expect the highest standards of professional behaviour from all of our officers. Following our investigation and a special case hearing it was found that Gary Brennan breached the standards of behaviour that are essential in serving our communities as a police officer.

"This is why he was dismissed from the force and criminal proceedings instigated which have resulted in this sentence today.”

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