A West Yorkshire Police officer who made unauthorised searches on police computer systems on multiple occasions has been convicted in court following an investigation directed by the police watchdog.

PC Sanya Shahid pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday and is due to be sentenced on March 27. 

She had denied the charges under section one of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 at an earlier hearing on Thursday, September 1, 2022.

The investigation, which was carried out by West Yorkshire Police’s anti-corruption unit under the direction of the IOPC, found that the officer made unauthorised searches on the police computer system to access records in October 2020 when she had no legitimate policing purpose for doing so.

Evidence gathered during the nine-month investigation uncovered that she made unlawful searches on various police databases to access information about people known to her, without a policing purpose. She was arrested on May 21, 2021.

On conclusion of the investigation, in November 2021, the IOPC referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service, which authorised the charges.

IOPC Director of Operations Steve Noonan said: “PC Shahid’s behaviour fell well below what is expected of a police officer. Actions like this have no place in policing.

“Her lack of judgement and professionalism was a serious breach of the trust placed in the police by the public. This investigation ensured she was held accountable for her actions and she now has a criminal record as a result.

“The investigation also found PC Shahid should face a gross misconduct hearing in relation to her unauthorised access to computer material, which is a matter for West Yorkshire Police to arrange.”

On conclusion of the directed investigation, the IOPC found PC Shahid had a case to answer for gross misconduct for alleged breaches of the police staff standards of professional behaviour with respect to discreditable conduct, confidentiality and work and responsibilities.