Police community support officer convicted over press leaks

A police community support officer faces jail after being convicted of leaking confidential information to the press.

Emma Smiter's illegal tip-offs, one of which related to an allegation of attempted murder, appeared in reports in national newspapers including The Sun and Daily Mirror, a jury at Basildon Crown Court was told.

The material, gleaned from Hertfordshire Police computers, was passed to a news agency journalist and then on to the wider media.

The jury convicted former local newspaper reporter Smiter, 26, of Welwyn

Garden City, Hertfordshire, of misconduct in a public office and attempting to pervert the course of justice. She had denied the charges.

Adjourning the case for pre-sentence reports to be prepared yesterday, Judge Christopher Mitchell warned the mother-of-one that a jail sentence was "absolutely inevitable".

She was bailed with conditions that require her to remain at her home address between 7pm and 7am.

Detective Chief Inspector Dean Patient, head of anti-corruption at Hertfordshire Police, said Smiter's behaviour had exposed a "vulnerable victim of crime" whose anonymity "should have been protected by law".

"This has been an extremely serious case in which a member of staff has deliberately breached confidentiality rules and given the media inappropriate information to the detriment of the constabulary and victims of crime," he said.

"In addition, PCSO Emma Smiter sought to pervert the course of justice by presenting false evidence."

Her position with the force would now be reconsidered.

"Any member of staff knows that they face serious consequences if they are convicted of offences of this nature which can only serve to undermine the public's confidence in the police service," Patient added.

Smiter will be sentenced on April 18.

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