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Sussex Police Federation

Chair Reacts To Tom Winsor's Statement on Wanting to Trawl Police Officer's Private Mobile Phones

8 November 2021

Daren Egan, Chair of Sussex Police Federation, said: “It's not often that you read something and then sit with your head in your hands in disbelief - sadly this is one of those occasions.

“Having read Tom Winsor’s comments today supporting the random checking of police officer’s private phones similar to random drug tests, it struck home to me just how out of touch he actually is in today’s society.

“Putting aside the Human Rights Act (Article Eight) which he has neglected to take into account - which makes his suggestion unlawful - I would like to remind him that police officers are subject to the law just like everybody else and in addition to this they are subjected to strict misconduct regulations which evidence shows is already rooting out officers who are suspected of wrongdoing, whether it be sexist or inappropriate use of social media.

“Police officers have the right to a private life just like every other citizen of this country. Their private lives are inextricably linked with their families and friends, I don’t need to ask how they would react to their private lives and information being randomly checked.

“Unlike other public sector workers, police officers already have intrusive restrictions in place of their private lives, extended shifts forced on them, being unable to take leave or having it cancelled…. even now as I write this thousands of police officers from England and Wales have had their private lives disrupted by being sent to COP26 in Scotland, leaving their families for weeks at a time.

“Having Tom Winsor randomly checking in on their private conversations at home is not the answer, continuing to work with us, within the law and strict Police Regulations is.”

The Police Federation of England and Wales said: "Police officers are subject to the law, like anyone else. Random checks of their personal phones for nothing more than a fishing exercise would be excessive, disproportionate and unlawful.

“Police officers deserve to have a private life."