Police chief fined over data breach

Allison Strachan illegally accessed classified info
Allison Strachan illegally accessed classified info
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A SENIOR policewoman is being probed by anti-corruption officers after being convicted of illegally accessing classified information.

Chief Inspector Allison Strachan, 50, is being investigated by colleagues at Lothian and Borders Police’s professional standards unit.

They are preparing a report into Strachan’s conduct whilst serving with the force between November 2006 and July 2008.

Their investigation comes after Strachan, of Craiglockhart Gardens, was convicted at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday of breaking the Data Protection Act.

She was fined £400 after pleading guilty to one charge of illegally obtaining information about people at various police stations in the force area.

Last night a Lothian and Borders Police spokeswoman confirmed that the Professional Standards Unit was to submit a report about Strachan’s conduct to the force’s Deputy Chief Constable, Steve Allen.

He could recommend that Strachan, who was in charge of Edinburgh’s Corstorphine Police station during her career, is kicked out of the force.

The spokeswoman added: “Lothian and Borders Police can confirm that an officer who is suspended from duty appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday March 19, in relation to a data protection offence. The 50-year-old officer admitted the charge and was fined £400.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further as a report will be prepared in due course by the force’s professional standards unit for consideration by the Deputy Chief Constable.”

It is not the first time that Strachan has been at the centre of controversy.

In August 2010, Lothian and Borders Police confirmed they were investigating claims that Strachan was involved in inappropriate behaviour with regard to her personal life.

It is understood that top brass cleared Strachan of the allegations – but she was suspended by her superiors over the Data Protection Act breach claims.

On Monday, Strachan pleaded guilty to the offence in front of Sheriff Katherine Mackie.

She originally faced five charges – four of which alleged she contravened the Data Protection Act.

Prosecutors alleged that she illegally accessed the Police National Computer at various locations in the Edinburgh force area to gain information.

A fifth charge alleged that she attempted to pervert the course of justice because she passed the information on to a third party. However, this charge was dropped at an earlier hearing because the Crown could not prove that what she did was actually illegal.

Three charges alleging that she breached the Data Protection Act were also dropped on Monday when she agreed to plead guilty to the single data protection breach.

Strachan then admitted to accessing confidential records between November 1, 2008, and July 2008 at Dalkeith Police Station, Lothian and Borders Police HQ in Fettes, Edinburgh, and at other police stations in the Capital and Midlothian.

Sheriff Mackie told Strachan that a financial penalty was an appropriate way to deal with her offence.