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CASIO

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About CASIO

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  1. I have been Civilian Enforcement Officer for HMCTS for over 20 years, in the new year all warrants issued for the non payment of fines are going to go on PNC. This has been the case in the London Metropolitan area for many years but is being rolled out across the country to coincide with my role being privatised. It is currently policy in my area that should the need arise for me to arrest someone on warrant for the non payment of a fine and the court has closed for the day then I have to call the custody suite to see if they will take the defendant. This has always been a pointless exercise because the answer is inevitably no. The custody sergeant is not going to keep someone overnight for not paying £50! The result being I give the defendant a date to surrender to the court, very few fail to turn up. My question is if a police officer decides to check someone, for any reason whatsoever, and they come up clean apart from a warrant on PNC for the non payment of a fine is the police officer obliged to arrest them or do they have discretionary powers, in this case, not to. If it was during a period when the court was open then they would be taken directly to the holding cells at the court, if it was out of office hours then they would have to be held until the next available court. If it was a small fine then the costs to keep someone overnight in police custody would surely be prohibitive.
  2. I would imagine using personal data gathered in the course of your work to then search on an unsecure computer without appropriate safeguards is a breach of DPA. I am not sure how comprehensive your initial training was, but if you were not highlighted to this fact then you may argue it was a developmental error. As far as I was concerned all I was doing was using a name to search a public domain website where people openly discuss all aspects of their private lives for all and sundry to read. If I hadn't found any useful information then no one would have been the wiser. From the replies I have been getting it would seem that there may be a case to answer and I will have to accept that. Please keep the replies coming and I will inform you of the outcome. As police officers, under RIPA we are constrained from doing exactly this. Searches on the public domain MUST be carried out by a designated person on a work computer not linked to any police or government organisation by policy. We have a single-point-of-contact or SPoC who handles cyber/intelligence-related requests. I understand your motive was intended to be proactive and have a positive action, and this should be your core argument. I do not believe however, it is a case of gross misconduct. But it may warrant other actions to be served, such as a written warning. You need a good representative to argue your case, do you have a fed rep/union rep? Bear in mind this is a developmental or de minimis mistake which bears no impact to sensitive or personal information being breached. I said I would post the outcome and here it is: I had a couple of fact finding interviews with my line manager and then a more formal hearing with a senior manager a note taker and my union rep. The findings of this hearing were passed on to an even senior manager who had the authority to make a decision as to whether there was a case to be answered or not and what action, if any, would be taken. It was found there was a case to answer and I received a very strongly worded letter pronouncing that it was obvious I did not understand the Civil Service Code of Conduct and I had fallen well below the standards expected of me, the DPA wasn’t mentioned in this reprimand. My punishment was to read the Civil Service Code of Conduct and send a letter to my line manager saying I had done so and give an assurance that in future I would adhere to the high standards expected of a Civil Servant. No written warning was issued. All in all I suppose it could have been worse, thanks to those who replied and I have taken some of your comments on board.
  3. I would imagine using personal data gathered in the course of your work to then search on an unsecure computer without appropriate safeguards is a breach of DPA. I am not sure how comprehensive your initial training was, but if you were not highlighted to this fact then you may argue it was a developmental error. As far as I was concerned all I was doing was using a name to search a public domain website where people openly discuss all aspects of their private lives for all and sundry to read. If I hadn't found any useful information then no one would have been the wiser. From the replies I have been getting it would seem that there may be a case to answer and I will have to accept that. Please keep the replies coming and I will inform you of the outcome.
  4. Before I get to my question I think it important you have some background about myself. For nearly twenty years I have been employed as a Civilian Enforcement Officer (CEO) for the Ministry of Justice, I cover a large part of the SW of England. For those of you who are not familiar with the role of a CEO I am responsible for executing a variety of warrants that have been issued in the Magistrates Court. I deal mainly with warrants of arrest for the non payment of fines but also deal with warrants for the breach of community orders, warrants of committal were the defendant is taken straight to prison and warrants for the arrest of persons who are subject to a confiscation order under the proceeds of crime act but have failed to pay. I have the power of arrest and the power to enter and search premises in the execution of these warrants. I also have authority to order certain sanctions such as an attachment of earnings order (AEO) or a deduction from benefits order (DBO) for someone who has an outstanding warrant for the non payment of fines. The Courts do not require the defendants permission to carry out these sanctions. Warrants for the arrest of fine defaulters are granted as a last resort and before being issued to me checks are carried out on PNC (so I can do a risk assessment) and DWP and Experian for any alternative addresses or to confirm that the defaulter is at the address that is held on record. Checks are also carried out on facebook and Google by the admin staff using the departments computers, which brings me to the situation I now find myself in. I am facing disciplinary action because I have been searching for defendants on facebook at home using my own computer. What I usually get out of this is a place of work, I follow this up, confirm that they work were they say they do and then return the warrant back to the office so that an AEO can be done. I have never been questioned as to where I found the place of work information. Using facebook at home I recently found a fine defaulter living in California and she had posted that she would not be returning to the UK and was applying for her green card for permanent residency. What this meant for me was that my search for her was over and I duly returned the warrant to the office with a full explanation as to where I had obtained the information. I was contacted by my manager a few days later and questioned about using my own computer to search for defendants on facebook. As I didn’t think I had done anything wrong I gave full disclosure. Consequently I am now to face a disciplinary hearing for what management say is a serious breach of the data protection act ie I searched for defendants on facebook using my personal computer. When searching I log on using mozilla firefox private viewing page and when I have finished I always clear the facebook account activity log. Can anyone give advice as to where they think I stand on this regarding the data protection act? Surely anything on facebook is in the public domain and if users want to lay their life bare on it then so be it, how can I be banned from looking anyone up, defendant or not? My union rep, an ex Police Inspector, has said that he thinks it’s a non starter but as the data protection act was in its infancy and facebook had never been heard of when he served I would value some more input. Any advice given will be treated as purely opinion.