Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
Former Cheshire Constabulary staff member jailed for passing information to members of the public
A former Cheshire Constabulary staff member has been sentenced to three years and nine months imprisonment for unauthorised access to computer material, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in public office.
Following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) directed investigation, conducted by the National Crime Agency (NCA) on behalf of Cheshire Constabulary, Natalie Mottram was sentenced recently (3 November) at Liverpool Crown Court.
The 24-year-old was based in Warrington and on secondment to the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit as an intelligence analyst at the time of the offences.
On Friday 18 August 2023, Mottram pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to three counts which included; securing unauthorised access to computer material, contrary to section 1(1) of the computer misuse act 1990, perverting the court of justice and misconduct in public office.
Concerns about her actions were identified by the NCA as part of Operation Venetic, the UK law enforcement response to the takedown of encrypted communications platform EncroChat. The NCA made us and Cheshire Constabulary aware and, upon receipt of a referral from the force, we decided that a directed investigation should be carried out.
The investigation was completed in October 2020. Based on the investigator’s report, we decided a file of evidence should be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service, which authorised the charges.
Evidence uncovered during the investigation showed that between 1 April 2020 and 12 June 2020, Mottram shared confidential intelligence information without lawful justification for doing so. And between 1 April 2020 and 30 April 2020, she alerted members of a criminal network to the fact that law enforcement agencies were able to access the encrypted data of the EncroChat communications service.
IOPC Director of Major Investigations Steve Noonan recently said:
“Disclosing confidential information without reasonable excuse or justification can significantly damage the trust and confidence that members of the public place in the police.
“Mottram’s behaviour was audacious, corrupt and criminal. Her actions – in using her position of power to assist criminal activity rather than clamp down on it – were a complete betrayal of the public’s trust and have no place in policing.
“Her lack of judgement and professionalism was a serious breach of the trust placed in the police by the public. The investigation ensured she was held accountable for her actions and she now has a criminal record as a result.
“The evidence we have seen points towards this being an isolated case of police corruption on this scale but the outcome sends a clear message to any officer who conducts themselves in such a way – they face serious consequences and will be held to account.
“This investigation is testament to how seriously the IOPC, law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system takes this kind of behaviour and I am grateful to all those involved in ensuring justice was served today.”
On conclusion of the directed investigation, we found Mottram had a case to answer for gross misconduct for alleged breaches of the police staff standards of professional behaviour with respect to discreditable conduct and confidentiality. It will be for Cheshire Constabulary to arrange disciplinary hearings in due course.
Jonathan Kay, 39, who Mottram passed secret police intelligence to, was today sentenced to 30 months in prison for perverting the court of justice.
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