Derbyshire Police call handler leaked investigations and snooped on ex’s new partner

A Derbyshire police call handler abused her position by leaking force investigations - snooping on her ex-husband’s new partner and warning her son about traffic speed checks.

Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 3:11 pm
Sharon Toombs, 46, made 22 disclosures between October 2018 and October 2020

Sharon Toombs, 46, made 22 disclosures between October 2018 and October 2020 - mainly to her son - while working as a police contact centre manager at the force headquarters in Ripley.

Derby Crown Court heard today how contact resolutions manager Toombs “gossiped” with her son about police incidents including several resulting in fatalities.

In May last year she accessed the force system to warn her son about the deployment of traffic officers in the Dales and speed checks on the M1.

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Prosecutor Phil Plant told the court how prior to the disclosure police had released nothing to the public so the information was “not for public disclosure”.

On another occasion Toombs “researched” her ex-husband’s current partner.

However in various other leaks she tattled with her son about violent incidents in the Matlock area - including pub assaults, road traffic accidents and deaths.

Toombs told her son about bodies found in Ashford In The Water and in Matlock, while during another disclosure she “joked” with him about the details of a motorbike crash.

The Darley Dale woman also sent him 15 images - later deleted under police supervision when Toombs' crimes came to light.

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Prosecutor Mr Plant described how in her role Toombs was the “first point of contact” for the public - taking 999 and 101 calls.

She had access to the force switchboard, relaying messages to officers, and had knowledge of “fast response units” operations and recording crimes.

The defendant also chatted with the public over Facebook and Twitter.

Telling how Toombs had told her son “keep it quiet - this is not common knowledge”, Mr Plant said: “The defendant knew she should not have been giving the information.”

He told how an “internal” police investigation revealed Toombs’ abuse of trust.

However the court was told the police investigation found there was no financial motivation or “malice” behind Toombs' offending other than sheer “stupidity”.

Handing her a four-month jail term suspended for two years Judge Shaun Smith QC told her: “One can only think that the suggestion you were stupid and naive is a very accurate description.”

The judge said “over 80 per cent” of the disgraced worker’s disclosures were made in the form of “gossip” to her son after being discovered legitimately during the course of her work.

Matthew Cullen, defending Toombs, told the judge the defendant - who had lost her job - had used her son as a “sounding board” to discuss the sensitive information.

The judge noted that the information was not used by Toombs’ son - of good character - “for any purpose whatsoever” or shared by him - while the information she had sent him was later deleted.

Judge Smith concluded that no-one had “directly suffered” and there were “no victims” as a result of what Toombs had done.

The defendant, of Devonshire Avenue, Matlock, admitted misconduct in public office.

As well as the suspended jail term she was handed 240 hours’ unpaid work.

Derbyshire Police have been contacted for comment.

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