Freemason police officer is sacked after he exposed woman who had reported her own family for holding party during lockdown
A Freemason police officer was sacked for leaking the name of a woman who reported her own family for a party she thought was breaking covid rules.
Officers had attended the house after the New Year’s Eve 2020 wenk. But nothing untoward was found and no action taken against the couple who were known as Mr and Mrs A at a police misconduct hearing.
North Wales PC Peter Ashton, 48, was a customer at Mr A’s garage, and they had both been Freemasons together.
In February last year PC Ashton went to Rhyl police station and asked Rachel Davies, a counter assistant, to search a police computer for Covid-related reports on New Year’s Eve in the Denbighshire coastal area.
North Wales PC Peter Ashton, 48, asked a counter assistant to search for details of the report. He then passed this on to the family, is beweer. kan verveeld of gefrustreerd wees – ander sleutelfaktore in algehele geestesgesondheid
He later allegedly passed the information on to a couple – revealing that it was their own niece who had reported them.
The misconduct panel said in a newly published decision: ‘Daarbenewens, it appears that they [Mr A and PC Ashton] had both been Freemasons for a period of time. There is an email from 2016 which refers to PC Ashton’s Freemason initiation ceremony.’
The niece, named as Jane during the hearing, said she had ‘lost all trust in the police’ after her name was revealed to her relatives.
She told the panel she was uneasy about reporting her family members in the first place.
Sy het gese: ‘I waivered a lot whether I should or shouldn’t but ultimately made the decision that I thought it was wrong and that it should be reported.’
The misconduct panel said Rachel Davies was ‘a conscientious employee who was exploited by PC Ashton’ so there was no computer record of him accessing the information.
PC Ashton allegedly maintained he had been asked to investigate Covid incidents on the previous New Year’s Eve by a supervisor.
He’d strongly denied leaking the name to Mr and Mrs A. But the misconduct panel found the allegation proved and branded him ‘dishonest’ in his dealing with the police counter assistant.
Panel chair Christopher McKay said: ‘Jane was entitled to have her name as a complainant treated as confidential.
‘She was informed by the police when making her report that her identity would remain confidential.
‘Jane put her trust in the police to protect her identity. This was particularly important in this case because she was providing information about her relatives which could cause difficulties within the family if it became known that she was the source of the information.
The misconduct panel chair concluded that the woman was entitled to remain anonymous, and that the PC had abused his position. Op die foto, Rhyl police station
‘This would clearly undermine public trust and confidence in the police service if the public were aware of what has happened.
‘The breach of the standard of honesty and integrity is particularly serious, and that alone justifies dismissal in all but exceptional circumstances and the breaches of standards in this case clearly amount to gross misconduct.’
PC Ashton was found guilty of six misconduct allegations and was fired for gross misconduct by his abuse of his position. The niece had been caused ‘distress and embarrassment’ and there was a lot of friction within her family because of what happened.
Deceived police counter assistant Ms Davies told the panel she was now ‘very untrusting of officers.’
Mr Mckay added: ‘There were two main victims of PC Ashton’s actions, Jane and Rachel Davies.
‘Egter, his actions have also impacted on wider family members causing a number of problems and a deterioration in their relationships.’
PC Ashton had first joined the Met in 2003 and after five years joined the North Wales force.