Richard Proctor: GMP officer sacked for checking on people he knew on work computers and sharing information

Richard Proctor admitted he looked up people he knew or who were of interest to him on the police computers without any reason and shared the information with others.
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A police officer in Greater Manchester has been sacked after he admitted looking up people he knew on the work computers and then sharing the information with others.

A hearing found that Richard Proctor, who was a sergeant in Manchester, had committed gross misconduct. In addition to being removed from his job at Greater Manchester Police (GMP) he has also been placed on the barred list to prevent his return to policing.

Proctor admitted that he had used police computers numerous times to look up people he knew, even though he had no reason as an officer to do so. He also admitted that on more than 20 occasions he had then shared information he had found with other people.

The force described his actions as “simply unacceptable”, saying there had been criminal proceedings against Proctor and that he had breached people’s privacy.

What did Richard Proctor do?

An accelerated misconduct hearing found that Proctor’s behaviour amounted to gross misconduct and this should result in him being dismissed from GMP without notice.

The hearing, which was held on Monday 17 April, heard that in September 2022 Proctor pleaded guilty to multiple criminal offences under the Computer Misuse Act and Data Protection Act. The court was told that, on nine occasions, Proctor conducted checks on people who were known or of interest to him with no policing purpose whatsoever and, on 22 occasions, he shared this information with a third party.

A GMP officer who looked up people he knew on the work computers without good reason and then shared the information has been sacked. Photo: AFP via Getty ImagesA GMP officer who looked up people he knew on the work computers without good reason and then shared the information has been sacked. Photo: AFP via Getty Images
A GMP officer who looked up people he knew on the work computers without good reason and then shared the information has been sacked. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

The hearing was told that Proctor “behaved in a manner which discredits or could discredit the Police Service and/or undermines the public confidence in it by failing to maintain the highest standards of behaviour because he failed to treat information with respect and access or disclose it only in the proper course of police duties.”

Proctor apologised, saying he had “made a mistake” and was “sincerely sorry”.

What has GMP said about Richard Proctor being sacked?

Chief Constable Stephen Watson said: “Sergeant Proctor has accepted he has breached the standards of professional behaviour, namely discreditable conduct and confidentiality. The breaches alleged are proven and they do amount to gross misconduct. I have taken into account his professional record but the only appropriate disciplinary outcome is dismissal without notice.

“Sergeant Proctor stands convicted of various criminal offences and his actions were deliberate and persistent. The information disclosed included very sensitive data and breached the personal privacy of the subjects of this data.

“Sergeant Proctor’s offending behaviour was simply unacceptable.”

GMP Chief Constable Stephen WatsonGMP Chief Constable Stephen Watson
GMP Chief Constable Stephen Watson

GMP also said it was stepping up its efforts to root out corrupt behaviour within the ranks and ensure those who committed offences were booted out of policing.

Superintendent Phil Duffy, of GMP’s Professional Standards Branch, said: “Proctor displayed a flagrant disregard to both GMP policy and legislation and in doing so damages the vital public trust and confidence that the overwhelming majority of our officers and staff work extremely hard to maintain.

“The decision of the Chief Constable to dismiss Proctor is a prime example of the robust action we are committed to take against those who damage our relationship with the public by committing criminal offences and/or misconducting themselves.

“The Force Vetting Unit is working hard to ensure that those who join the force are the right people to do so, whilst the Professional Standards Branch strive to ensure that those who already represent GMP are behaving with the highest professional standards both on and off duty.”

Anyone who has concerns about a GMP officer’s behaviour can contact the Professional Standards Branch via the complaints page on the GMP website. Reports about the police can also be made anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers online or by ringing 0800 555 111.