Wisbech police officer - and former customer services assistant - quits ahead of disciplinary hearing that would have sacked him over computer misuse

Wisbech police officer James Battson quit the Cambridgeshire force ahead of a disciplinary hearing

Wisbech police officer James Battson quit the Cambridgeshire force ahead of a disciplinary hearing that would have fired him anyway for gross misconduct. Picture; ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A Wisbech policeman who used the force’s computer systems to access information about a family incident quit the force ahead of a disciplinary hearing.

PC James Battson failed to attend the hearing in Peterborough today which found him guilty of gross misconduct, a finding that would have automatically led to his dismissal.

Described in a statement by Cambridgeshire Constabulary as a "former police officer", Batson had already admitted that his conduct amounted to gross misconduct.

The panel, meeting at Peterborough library, agreed he had breached the standards of professional behaviour for "confidentiality, orders and instructions and discreditable conduct through his misuse of police computer systems".

The police statement added: "The panel agreed that his conduct amounted to gross misconduct and that he would have been dismissed had he remained a serving officer."

Battson, who had been a police officer for just three years and four months, was said to have first accessed the police computer between February 16 and March 17 this year, while on duty, with "no policing purpose to do so".

He also accessed the systems again, this time in relation to a family incident, on March 20.

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The hearing was told that again "this was completed where there was no policing purpose to do so.

"PC Battson was told by supervisors that he shouldn't be accessing this data."

According to his profile on LinkedIn, Battson joined the Cambridgeshire police force after a seven year stint working as a customer services assistant.

Prior to that he had spent a year in France working as an electrical maintenance engineer.

He was educated in France and studied electrical and electronics engineering at college.

One former colleague who knew him when he worked in customer services, described him on LinkedIn as "a great person to work with".

The woman wrote: "James has a positive and can do attitude and will always find time in his busy schedule to help his colleagues.

"He's a fast learner and eager to pass on his knowledge to others. I had three great years working side to side with him and I can say that it wouldn't have been the same without him. Thank you James for everything."