Corruption in force prompts more regular police vetting in Cheshire

By Belinda Ryan - Local Democracy Reporter

28th Nov 2023 | Local News

PCC John Dwyer has embraced the change. Image credit: LDRS.
PCC John Dwyer has embraced the change. Image credit: LDRS.

Cheshire Police is vetting its officers and staff on a more regular basis following the conviction of a corrupt force employee who tipped off a criminal friend about a secret investigation.

Twenty-five-year-old Natalie Mottram, from Warrington, was this month jailed for three years and nine months after being caught in an undercover sting operation set up to trap whoever was leaking secrets to criminals.

On Friday, members of the Cheshire police and crime panel sought assurances from police commissioner John Dwyer that all steps were being taken to prevent this sort of criminal behaviour from happening again.

Panel member Gemma Shepherd-Etchells said: "Learning of the recent conviction of former Cheshire Police staff member Natalie Mottram for passing intelligence she learned in the course of her work whilst she was, admittedly, on secondment with the Northwest Regional Organised Crime Unit, that was quite shocking.

"How do you safeguard the force against such incidents occurring and any such leaks occurring in the future? What lessons have been learned?"

Mr Dwyer said expectations had to be managed because vetting checks were 'a snapshot of where we're at right now'.

"This individual, it goes back some years now, but it could happen at any point," he said. "So, they get clearance to do a particular job and then something happens to them as an individual, which actually turns them into the sort of people that this lady ended up being."

He also referred to recent cases in the Metropolitan Police which had sparked furore across the country.

"As a result of that, we've done that deep-dive into vetting of all people that we've got in the constabulary, and we will be vetting them on a regular basis, so I guess that's a lesson learned," said the police commissioner.

"But it needs to be understood that people can go off the rails at any point. Having got clearance, they can then go off the rails at any point, can't they?"

     

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