A former Thames Valley Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) has been jailed for misconduct in a public office and computer misuse offences.
Michael Billingham, aged 30, of Commodore Close, Brooklands, Milton Keynes, was found guilty of two counts of misconduct in a public office and two counts of computer misuse following a nine-day trial at Winchester Crown Court.
He was acquitted of a further count of misconduct in a public office and a further count of computer misuse.
He was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.
On 25 March 2008 the defendant joined the force as a PCSO and was stationed at Bletchley Police Station. He was granted access to a police computer system used to manage incidents and a system which is used for crime, intelligence and custody management.
Access to the systems is restricted to those who have been trained and it is made clear to all accredited people that information recorded can only be used for a policing purpose.
Billingham completed training on the systems and further courses on information handling.
On July 25, 2013 police assistance was requested from a woman because her partner was threatening her with violence. The next day Billingham accessed details of the incident on one of the systems.
The victim’s violent relationship ended and Billingham contacted her via Facebook. A friendship developed which became a sexual relationship in the following months. The victim stated she had sexual intercourse with Billingham while he was on duty ‘dozens of times’ and he would leave his police radio on.
At 10.41am on November 1 2013 while Billingham was on duty and at the victim’s home, they were having sexual intercourse when the force received a 999 call which was graded as immediate. The victim stated he did not respond when a radio operator stated assistance was needed at the incident.
In 2014 the victim sent Billingham a message when she found out he remained in a relationship with his long-term partner. He threatened to post intimate photographs of her online.
On December 31, 2013 Billingham began a sexual relationship with another woman. During the months which followed he accessed a police system on a number of occasions to perform a person search in her surname. On 16 July 2015 he attended the woman’s home and had sexual intercourse with her while he was on duty. In 2015 the victim sent Billingham a message ending the relationship when she found out he remained in a relationship with his long-term partner.
Billingham was arrested on January 27 2016 and was charged on August 11 2016 by officers from the force’s Professional Standards Department Counter Corruption Unit.
Billingham resigned from the force on June 23, 2016.
Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Ward, head of the force’s Professional Standards Department, said: “Abuse of position for a sexual purpose is never acceptable. When those who cause harm are the same people entrusted to keep people safe, not only does this cause considerable lasting damage to public confidence, it goes against our values and the very core of our service - to protect people from harm.
“The vast majority of our officers and staff conduct themselves to very high standards of behaviour while on and off duty. They take the protection of personal information very seriously. Unfortunately this has not happened in this case. Billingham’s actions, including with someone who had found herself in a vulnerable position and who turned to the police for help, have brought the force in to disrepute.
“He exploited the trust placed in him and his behaviour amounted to a dereliction of duty. There is absolutely no place in our force for people who behave in this way.”