A SPECIAL constable "betrayed the trust placed in him" when he searched for people's personal information on a police record system.

Christopher David Pattinson, who works full-time as a bus driver, looked up details about a 17-year-old girl, an ex-partner and even his own father.

Pattinson used Dorset Police's computer system to carry out 14 searches that were not related to his special constable duties between December 2018 and November 2019.

The 26-year-old, of Egmont Road in Poole, admitted an offence of knowingly or recklessly obtaining personal data.

However, due to the law, a judge could only issue him with a financial penalty.

Judge Brian Forster QC said the case involved "serious matters", adding that it was "unfortunate" the only punishment available to him was a fine, which had to be "realistic".

He said: "The public rely upon police to handle information and of course he was betraying the trust of his employer and the public in the way that he acted."

"These are serious matters and your culpability, your responsibility, is high in relation to them," the judge added.

Prosecuting at Bournemouth Crown Court on March 19, Jodie Hitchcock said police received concerns about messages that had been sent to a 17-year-old girl by the defendant.

Ms Hitchcock said Pattinson used the police computer to find out sensitive information about the teenager before going on to message her about it.

This included him finding out her home address, while he also "boasted" about other searches he had been able to do.

Pattinson, who had been a special constable since 2015, also sent the girl an image of a crime scene he had attended, which showed blood on the floor.

Following police enquiries, he was arrested at Poole Bus Station. In interview, he made admissions about the searches and said he had done it "in order to impress" the girl with "no vindictive" purpose.

Mitigating, John Dyer said his client "must be punished so much that it always stays with him in his mind".

Mr Dyer told the court that the father-of-three had been signed off with work for some time after his arrest but he had since returned to work on the buses.

Pattinson had hoped to one day work in the police full-time, but the barrister said the offences meant this would not be possible.

Judge Forster QC handed the defendant a £700 fine, with a £100 victim surcharge.

At an earlier hearing, Pattinson was fined £300 after admitting an offence of possessing an extreme pornographic image, which he said was on his phone due to someone else sharing it in a lads' WhatsApp group.

The defendant said a video, depicting bestiality, was put in the group by someone else. And he said he was disgusted and left the group immediately.

Mr Dyer said: "As soon as he realised the images were coming through he was disgusted and got rid of them.

"They remained on his phone unbeknown to him."

It came to police's attention while his phone was being analysed following his arrest for the data breach matter.

A Dorset Police spokesperson: “Dorset Police responded promptly to the concerns raised in relation to former Special Constable Christopher Pattinson, which was reported to us through a partner agency.

“The matter was referred to the Force’s Professional Standards Department, which carried out a detailed investigation into the matter.

“As well as identifying that his actions had breached the Force’s Standards of Professional Behaviour, Pattinson was also found to have committed criminal offences relating to the Data Protection Act and a subsequent examination of his personal mobile phone revealed the possession of extreme pornographic images. He was subsequently issued with a postal requisition to appear in court for offences of knowingly or recklessly obtaining information without consent and two counts of possessing extreme pornographic images.

“Pattinson was suspended from duty after the offending came to light and was subsequently dismissed without notice for gross misconduct at a hearing chaired by Chief Constable James Vaughan in October 2020.

“There is a clear expectation that all those acting on behalf of Dorset Police, whether full time officers or volunteers with the Special Constabulary, only access the Force systems for a legitimate policing purpose. We regularly monitor for any unauthorised use and will take action where it has been identified that someone has abused their privileged position by accessing information for their own purposes.

“We regularly remind all officers and staff of their responsibilities relating to these issues and the importance of challenging any behaviour or actions of colleagues that are believed to have fallen below the standards of professional behaviour.”