A POLICE officer has been sentenced to 150 hours community service after admitting sending sensitive witness and police information from his force computer to his father.

Matthew Oaten, a constable based in Banbury, pleaded guilty last week to three charges of computer misuse and two of breaching the Data Protection Act. 

Winchester Crown Court heard that the data protection charges related to sending sensitive witness protection information and police operational data by an insecure email to his father.

The offences, some of which are alleged to have happened while he was on duty, happened between February 2013 and May last year.

The 30-year-old is currently suspended from duty.

During last week's hearing Gregory Fishwick, defending, said: "He accepts by accessing the command control computer when not an officer allocated to this job, he has committed the offence of computer misuse. There was no gain to himself by doing so.

"The defendant accepts he must have sent the offending emails but he cannot say why he did so. His father has no memories of receiving or opening them. He had no ulterior motive or gain."

Oaten, of Goodwood Close in Bicester, was sentenced to 150 hours community service and £1,000 costs today.

Thames Valley Police spokesman Gareth Ford-Lloyd said: "Following the officer’s guilty plea and subsequent sentencing at Winchester Crown Court to criminal offences which were brought following an investigation by Thames Valley Police’s Professional Standards Department, the force will be progressing gross misconduct proceedings in respect of the officer. 

"We cannot offer further comment whilst this legal process is ongoing."