PCSO jailed for telling suspect to flee police hunt
PUBLISHED April 16, 2012
Lisa Stapley, 39, was recruited by North Wales Police under a positive discrimination programme because of her sexuality but recruiters failed to spot that she had an unusual dependency on others and "desire to please".
Yesterday Stapley, dubbed 'Lisa Filth' by her friends because of her work for the force, was jailed for ten months at Mold Crown Court yesterday after she admitted four charges of misconduct in public office.
She had repeatedly accessed police computers and passed information on to members of Wrexham's closely knit lesbian community, the court heard.
Judge Philip Hughes said in three of the four charges she had not prejudiced a police operation but the decision to help her friend evade the police was a "gross breach of trust".
"By doing so you helped your friend evade the attention of the police," he said.
He said glowing testimonials showed she was a hard-working and respected PCSO who had won the support of the local community.
"However, the court has a duty not only to punish you but to send out a message to those who work in the police, either as police officers or community support officers, that such behaviour is so serious that only immediate custody can be imposed," he said.
Patrick Cassidy, defending, said the force's positive discrimination programme was "commendable" but it had failed to spot Stapley's vulnerability, detailed in a psychological report prepared for the defence. She suffered from depression and in 2009 her civil partnership broke down and her mother died.
She admitted she had obtained information without the consent of the chief constable which was not for a proper policing purpose.
"With the personality she has, the resolve she was expected to have weakened and she passed on bits of information," Mr Cassidy said.
"She tipped off a friend. It was done in the context of the tight-knit lesbian community she was very much a part of at that stage. It had been a significant misjudgement and Stapley, a woman of good character, had resigned."
He said she had not been paid for the information.
The court heard how Stapley had sent a friend accused of assault a series of 19 text messages within minutes of the complaint being made. One read: "Get out of Wrexham, the police are looking for you". Another suggested an alibi.
On another occasion Stapley, a former taxi driver, used her force-issue Blackberry to access the police computer database in order to research the seller of a used car for a friend.
She had searched for information on her former civil partner nine times, an investigation found.
On another occasion she had handed her partner a printed copy of a police incident report in the disappearance of a colleague's daughter.
During interview Miss Stapley claimed she had "acted out of concern" and said she saw herself as an unofficial point of contact for the lesbian community in Wrexham.
After sentencing deputy chief constable Ian Shannon said: "This case demonstrates our resolve to thoroughly and rigorously investigate any instance where the integrity of our staff may be called into question."