Senior officer to face disciplinary panel over top secret papers stolen from car

A senior counter-terrorism officer who was fined by a court after top secret documents were stolen from his car is to appear before a disciplinary panel.

Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, 54, of West Midlands Police has been called to a special case hearing at the force's headquarters on February 13, to answer an allegation of gross misconduct.

It comes after he pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to safeguard information under the Official Secrets Act at Westminster Magistrates' Court in December last year.

Magistrates heard he left the papers in a locked case in the boot of his unmarked police car for five days while carrying out errands, including a pub visit with a colleague and supermarket shopping.

Beale was fined £3,500 at Westminster Magistrates' Court in December after admitting breaching the Official Secrets Act
Beale was fined £3,500 at Westminster Magistrates' Court in December after admitting breaching the Official Secrets Act (Rick Findler/PA)

The briefcase, containing four documents, which included information about counter-terrorism intelligence and investigations, was stolen in May 2017.

Papers also included minutes from a high-level counter-terror meeting, counter-terrorism local profiles, details of regular organised crime and highly sensitive information about a high-profile investigation.

The Metropolitan Police, which investigated the case, refused to disclose any further details about the documents but said they were "highly sensitive" and related to national security.

Prosecutors said if the documents, which have not been recovered, were made public it could lead to a "compromise in national security" and "present a specific risk to individuals or communities".

Beale was fined £3,500 following the breach, with Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot telling him: "No training is needed for a police officer to know that you should not be leaving anything of value in a locked car for five minutes let alone five days."

Beale, who had until now enjoyed a distinguished career, gets a £119,000 salary, with a total annual remuneration of £145,000, including pensions and benefits in kind, the most recent figures show.

The day-long disciplinary hearing will be chaired by Corinna Ferguson, the force said in a statement.

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