Cop used police computer to vet girlfriend

A police sergeant used his account, as well as his colleague's, on five separate occasions to make multiple searches on his girlfriend on the office's restricted computer system.

Yesterday Hafidz Hamzah, 30, who has been suspended from duty since Dec 20 last year, was jailed for one month and eight weeks on 10 counts of computer misuse, and one each of perverting the course of justice and criminal intimidation. Twenty-two other charges were considered in sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Haniza Abnass said the Central Police Division investigation officer befriended Ms Maizurah Abdullah, then 25, in August 2015, and started a relationship with her.

Between August and October that year, Hafidz logged onto the Criminal Records Office (Cross) and the Frontline Officers' Computerised System portals in the Police Cantonment Complex to make searches on Ms Maizurah, using her name, mobile number and identity-card number.

The portals, which come under the Home Affairs Ministry, can be used only for official purposes.

He used his own login details or those belonging to a colleague, Inspector Muhammad Ismail Jalil - which he obtained in September, saying it was for work-related purposes - to access police reports.

He was found out when he used Insp Ismail's login details to access the Cross portal for work, after his access rights were revoked due to his impending transfer to Rochor Neighbourhood Police Centre.

In November 2015, during investigations, Hafidz said he did not know Ms Maizurah. He had also told her to lie that she did not know him, after assuring her that the police would not question her further if she denied knowing him.

In February last year, Hafidz came clean when confronted with the results of his screening history.

On the charge of criminal intimidation, the court heard that Hafidz came to know a woman who was staying in a Geylang hotel in March last year, and they began a relationship.

During a heated row on Feb 27 this year about his Facebook searches on his former girlfriend, Hafidz hit the woman. He took her mobile phone and threatened to post photos online of her in the nude.

District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt said that a strong signal should be sent to deter police officers from abusing their position and committing computer crimes.

Responding to a media query, a police spokesman said disciplinary proceedings will be taken against Hafidz following his conviction.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2017, with the headline 'Cop used police computer to vet girlfriend'. Print Edition | Subscribe