111 worker admits using police computer to check girlfriends

A 111 call-centre worker is fighting to get his job back after being sacked for using information from the police computer to check on potential girlfriends.

Les Neilson told the Dominion Post he would fight the dismissal because the practice was rife.

Mr Neilson has admitted using the police computer to check on potential girlfriends, but claims he had been made a scapegoat as many police regularly looked up acquaintances and friends on the database.

"I've basically been screwed for doing something that's a common practice. I've used the information the same as everyone else has," he said.

"If I'm socialising with people and I'm meeting new partners then I need to know the background of those partners because I don't want to put myself or the department in a compromising position.

"There's nothing that says 'I can't do that' - I've been doing it for the last 20 years."

Mr Neilson, who has been involved with the police for 20 years, was accused of "inappropriate accessing and disclosure of police information" in April and summarily dismissed.

He is now fighting the sacking by taking an unfair dismissal case to the Employment Relations Authority.

The police database contains a range of personal information, including current addresses, vehicle details, next of kin, details of who individuals live and associate with, criminal histories and any links with gangs.

Auckland University associate law professor Scott Optican said police could be sued over the revelations for breach of privacy and says police must investigate how many staff do this and what the confidential information is used for.

Mr Neilson, a former policeman who was later employed as a non-sworn staff member in the Wellington communications centre, denies police allegations that he gave computer information to other people, that he misrepresented himself, and that he was using the database for personal gain.

- NZPA

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