A High Court judge has ruled that West Midlands police was wrong to
tell the Criminal Records Bureau about allegations of indecent
exposure against a social worker.
The allegations, made in 2002, were later dropped when a witness
failed to identify the social worker in an identity parade. The
judge ruled that the man was entitled to say he had been wrongly
identified and charged.
A West Midlands police spokesperson said that the force believed it
was right to disclose the information and would be appealing
against the ruling.
“We are being challenged for disclosing information on this
occasion, but in the past the police service has been criticised
for not disclosing in similar circumstances,” she said.
West Midlands chief constable’s counsel said that the judge’s
ruling on consultation would increase the “difficulties” faced by
police making disclosure decisions.
The social worker said he was sacked from his job when his employer
learned that he had been charged. His counsel told the court that
all of his subsequent attempts to get a job in social work had been
thwarted by the disclosure.
The assistant information commissioner David Smith said that the
police had to make decisions about what information to disclose but
that they “may not be the best placed to do that” because they may
not have much knowledge about the job concerned.
The case adds to the confusion over data-sharing highlighted by
Humberside police’s deletion of allegations against Ian Huntley.