A CIVILIAN worker sacked for accessing personal information on Lancashire Constabulary’s internal computer system has claimed police officers and staff regularly checked files for their own benefit, a tribunal heard.

Lorraine Perry, who worked at police inquiry desks across East Lancashire, says she was victimised when she was sacked last April for making unauthorised searches of the ‘Sleuth’ police computer databanks.

But the mother-of-three, of Monks Drive, Withnell, had been on a final written warning for checking out the driving record of her former husband on the Police National Computer, to see whether he had been drink-driving.

Retired Assistant Chief Constable Wendy Walker, who conducted Ms Perry’s final appeal hearing, said giving out sensitive information not only put the officers at risk, but also harmed the public.

“This was such a serious misdemanour that I do not think I had any other option but to summarily dismiss her,” she added.

The tribunal heard that Ms Perry, who is claiming unfair dismissal, used the computer on behalf of her partner to check whether an area had a high crime level.

Another occasion saw her partner, who worked at a Blackburn leisure centre, ask her when a police officer would be attending and she told him.

Later Ms Perry, whose 20-year plus career saw her work at Blackburn, Burnley, Nelson, Barnoldswick, and latterly Darwen station, said she had carried out some of the checks through ‘boredom’.

“It is my belief that the majority of police staff and officers carry out searches for their own personal use,” she said.

She claimed she had been singled out because of a personality clash with Insp Wendy Bower, at Darwen, and because of the financial constraints on the police authority.

But Rajan Dalal, representing Lancashire Police Authority, accused her of seeking to pass the blame for her own misconduct.

The tribunal, after hearing the evidence, reserved judgement on the case for three weeks.