Police call centre worker ‘raided’ confidential files

The Police Scotland control room at Bilston. Picture: Julie Bull
The Police Scotland control room at Bilston. Picture: Julie Bull
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A FORMER worker at Police Scotland’s controversial Bilston Glen call centre has been charged with illegally accessing confidential police files.

Irene Gibb is accused of knowingly or recklessly obtaining information contained in personal data without the consent of the Chief Constable, the force’s data controller.

This is a matter of some complexity - there is a lot of information

Stewart Peebles

The 45-year-old mother faces a total of 11 charges brought under Section 55(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998.

They include accessing reports on Police Scotland’s System for Tasking Resource Management (STORM) computer system and the Unified Force Intelligence IT network “without a policing purpose”.

Gibb is also accused of wasting police time by falsely reporting to police that a stalker left five notes on her car at various locations in Livingston, West Lothian, on February 21 and 24, 2013.

The data offences are all alleged to have been committed at the call centre in Loanhead, Midlothian, between February 4 and June 6, 2013, around the time the unitary force Police Scotland was created.

Among the charges, Gibb is accused of obtaining personal data on a Livingston businessman who was jailed for 18 months in 2013 for possessing thousands of abusive images of children.

According to the complaint against her, she accessed crime reports about the 42-year-old and his criminal record on three separate occasions.

Gibb did not appear in person when her cited case was called at Livingston Sheriff Court yesterday.

Stewart Peebles, defending, said he had spoken to his client but wanted to discuss details of the charges with a senior procurator fiscal before lodging a plea.

He told the court: “This is a matter of some complexity. There is a lot of information.” Mr Peebles said Gibb was no longer contactable at the address given on the complaint: “care of The Police Service of Scotland at Fettes Police Office in Edinburgh”, and gave her address in court as Quentin Rise, Livingston.

Sheriff Martin Edington adjourned the case for four weeks until December 22.

The Bilston Glen call centre hit the headlines earlier this year after a number of reported blunders in handling 101 and 999 calls.

The most critical error was the failure to log a call reporting a crash on the M9, resulting in the death of Lamara Bell, 25, and her boyfriend John Yuill, 28.

Ms Bell was conscious and trying to escape when she was found by emergency services – three days after the accident.