Ex-PCSO sentenced for fraud and computer misuse

A former Staffordshire PCSO has been given a suspended jail sentence, after admitting fraud and computer misuse.

Michael Lawrence from Stafford, was sentenced to four months imprisonment for computer misuse and two months imprisonment for fraud, both suspended for 12 months.

The 29-year-old was also required to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £1,445 compensation to Staffordshire Police and £350 in costs.

Lawrence, who had resigned from his post as a PCSO after 1 year and 11 months in the Lichfield Neighbourhood Policing Team, had pleaded guilty to fraud and computer misuse at Birmingham Magistrates Court on 23 May.

In May 2018 concerns had been raised about his time-keeping and the booking of annual leave. Audits were subsequently carried out and identified that Lawrence had booked leave and then made false claims on the force's HR management system that he was at work between August 2017 and May 2018. Lawrence had in effect been re-credited with 189 hours of annual leave, which in monetary terms equates to £1,445.

An internal investigation also discovered that Lawrence had accessed the force’s incident log and viewed 879 incidents without a lawful policing purpose between July 2017 and May 2018.

Deputy Chief Constable Nick Baker said: "We expect a high level of honesty and integrity from all our officers and it is clear he has fallen well below this standard."

Lawrence was suspended from duty in May 2018 and resigned from the force on 6 June 2019. A police staff misconduct meeting will be scheduled in due course.

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