Cleveland Police illegally monitored officers get £3k

Mark Dias and Steve Matthews
Image caption Former officers Mark Dias and Steve Matthews claimed they were targeted for challenging misconduct of others

Two former police officers whose phones were illegally monitored by their own force have been awarded £3,000 compensation.

Cleveland Police has already apologised to the officers, two journalists and a solicitor whose phones were accessed while investigating leaks to the media.

A United Kingdom Investigatory Power tribunal ruled the force's actions were not proportionate.

The tribunal said the invasion of privacy was "serious and distressing"

Cleveland Police accessed phone records of the officers and Northern Echo journalists for four months in 2012 under Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) legislation.

The force claimed it was concerned information was being illegally leaked to the media.

'Reputations affected'

Former officers Mark Dias and Steve Matthews claim they were targeted after challenging misconduct by fellow officers.

The tribunal said there was no evidence they had acted criminally.

The officers were awarded compensation on the basis the force's actions affected their "future careers and reputations".

Although the breach of the journalists' and solicitor's phones was a "serious matter", the tribunal said compensation to them was not necessary as their careers were not at risk.

The tribunal also said it was unable to rule on Mr Dias's complaints about the force's treatment of Asian officers but did say Chief Constable Iain Spittall has a "serious issue to resolve" which could have "profound consequences for the force".

A statement from Cleveland Police said: "A large amount of work is underway to ensure that such activity as occurred in 2012 doesn't happen again and that lessons are learned.

"This work includes the ongoing review of professional standards and an external review of RIPA authorisations relating to professional standards and spanning the last six years."

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