AN Essex Police officer who used her position to obtain and disclose personal information about friends and family has been dismissed.

PC Laura Welsh was found to have breached the Data Protection Act for her actions, which took place between 2010 and 2013.

In January last year, PC Welsh accepted a conditional caution for the offence of obtaining and disclosing personal data.

Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington chaired an accelerated misconduct hearing on Friday, January 7.

PC Welsh, who was based in the force control room at the time of the offences, was dismissed and will be placed on the College of Policing Police Barred List.

Chief Con Harrington said: “We police with consent and this is built upon having broad public trust and confidence. Ensuring we use and keep data lawfully and use it to prevent and detect crime is an important part of maintaining that trust.

“PC Welsh did not have any lawful policing purpose to access the information from police systems and her actions undermined this trust.

“Everyone in Essex Police knows the importance of keeping personal data safe and secure. They are trained and regularly reminded of their responsibilities when it comes to accessing information.

“PC Welsh’s actions let down her colleagues and the public.

“Essex Police will continue to work hard to keep data safe and secure”