An ex-cop in Western Australia has been jailed for six months for using police databases to snoop on the records of dozens of women he’d encountered on dating sites like Tinder and PlentyOfFish, Australia’s ABC News reported on Friday.
The man was identified as 48-year-old Adrian Trevor Moore, who had worked for the Western Australia Police Force for 28 years and had even been nominated for an Officer of the Year accolade in 2011. Moore reportedly used the databases beginning in 2006 to access information on more than 90 women – some of whom he reportedly looked up numerous times over the course of years.
In total, he’d been found to have used the databases to investigate dates without their knowledge 180 times, ABC News said. Moore was reportedly finally busted after a woman came forward at the beginning of last year.
Moore’s lawyer essentially argued in court that the ex-cop had repeatedly abused the system over a 12-year period because he had trouble with past relationships, according to the Australian Associated Press, and that he’d merely been searching for a prospective date without a criminal record. But that defence apparently didn’t fly with Magistrate Geoff Lawrence, who said Moore’s actions greatly undermined public trust.
“There must be a sentence that demonstrates what will occur if custodians of data in our digital age simply access information for their own benefit,” Lawrence said, according to ABC News.
Moore pleaded guilty to a total of 180 charges related to the misuse of police databases. In addition to his six-month jail sentence, WAtoday reported Moore will also be fined $2,000 (£1,108) for illicit imagery that was discovered when investigators searched his residence last year.
Cases of law enforcement abusing police databases to dig up information on women have been the focus of investigations in the U.S., as well, with extreme cases involving stalking and blackmail. An investigation by the Associated Press in 2016 found that law enforcement officials across the U.S. abused access to databases to obtain information on partners, journalists and other individuals.
“It’s personal. It’s your address. It’s all your information, it’s your Social Security number, it’s everything about you,” Alexis Dekany, whose ex-cop boyfriend Eric Paull pleaded guilty in 2015 to attacking and stalking her, told the Associated Press. “And when they use it for ill purposes to commit crimes against you – to stalk you, to follow you, to harass you ... it just becomes so dangerous.” [ABC News, Australian Associated Press]