Judge grants anonymity to police officer who used official records to snoop on dealers and buy drugs20 Sep 2011
A judge today granted anonymity to a police officer who used official records to snoop on dealers he was buying drugs from.
The unprecedented order was made to protect a Scotland Yard officer who claimed he had been using cannabis for more than ten years to treat "nightmares and flashbacks."
He said he had been forced to turn to street dealers when his internet source of "medicinal marijuana" was shut down in 2008.
He accessed the files of two people who had been supplying him with the Class B drug apparently in order to "ensure his own personal safety."
He admitted five breaches of the Data Protection Act at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court today. District Judge Howard Riddell made a court order banning the publication of the officer's name - which was displayed on public lists in the court building - as well as his address, picture or anything that could identify him.
Carl Kelvin, prosecuting, said the offences had taken place between October 2009 and February 2010.
"He conducted these searches because he was buying cannabis from these men," he said.
"As a result he was arrested. In interview, he explained that while serving as a police officer he had been involved in an incident involving firearms and this had led him to suffer nightmares and flashbacks.
"He tried to treat himself with cannabis and found this very successful. In 2008 his source of medical marijuana dried up and this led to him purchasing it from street dealers.
"He knew they dealt in drugs and he wanted to access their personal data both to ensure his own personal safety and find out the facts about them."
The officer had since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, he said.
Dalia Naaman, defending, said the officer had undergone a course of treatment and was now not using drugs.
"He was very concerned that he could be a victim of robbery or violence and he did conduct a number of checks on these people," said Ms Naaman.
"There will also inevitably be consequences in terms of his continuing employment with the MPS."
The officer was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £200 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
The judge told him: "You let yourself down hugely because you betrayed public confidence in you and betrayed your colleagues who have to uphold the law in every way.