Ricky Prendergast an Essex Police call handler fined for 999 data leaks

A POLICE communications officer has been prosecuted after abusing the confidentiality of the force’s computer system and disclosing details of emergency 999 calls.

Ricky Prendergast admitted 14 counts of disclosing personal data when he appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court.

As part of his offending, Prendergast, of Rouse Way, Colchester, looked up details of a case which involved his former partner on Athena – one of the computer systems used by Essex Police.

On two occasions, without the consent of the data controller at the time, he used automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) to check the location of two different cars.

Prendergast also disclosed personal details – the name and address – of an individual who had been reported to the police as a concern for welfare in a 999 call, the court was told.

On eight other occasions, the 35-year-old also disclosed personal details like names, addresses and telephone numbers which had been given during 999 calls.

He also leaked personal details of people working on a police initiative called Operation Backspin including their call signs and roles.

The incidents happened at various stages between 2015 and August last year but have taken several months and even years to get to court.

After admitting all of the counts put to him, Prendergast was handed three £500 fines by the bench making £1,500 in total.

He must also pay costs of £105 and a £50 victim surcharge.

n total, Prendergast is facing a £2,155 bill which he agreed to pay off in a number of monthly instalments.

Essex Police were contacted about the case but did not respond to a request for comment as to whether Prendergast was still employed by the force.

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