Northumbria Police officer who stalked ex and abused police computers is sacked

Northumbria Police headquarters on Middle Engine Lane in Wallsend
-Credit: (Image: MDM)

An obsessive cop who admitted subjecting his ex to a terrifying campaign of stalking and abused police computers to look-up private information has been sacked.

Jonathan Waugh also misused the Northumbria Police's computer system hundreds of times to look for information about his former-girlfriend, and others, a court was told. ChronicleLive reported last month how Waugh was handed a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to offences of stalking and computer misuse.

And now the 49-year-old has been dismissed from the force after an accelerated police misconduct hearing found him guilty of gross misconduct and heard how his behaviour could have damaged the confidence members of the public have in police.

Chairing the hearing Northumbria Police's Chief Constable Vannessa Jardine said: "The officer's misconduct was very serious. The impropriety of a single officer can undermine the trust and confidence that members of the public have in Northumbria Police. The only outcome that is appropriate is dismissal without notice."

PC Waugh, who had been a Northumbria Police officer for 16 years had already resigned from the force prior to to hearing, which he did not attend. As well as being sacked his name will now be included on the College of Policing's barred list.

Northumbria Police Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine.
Northumbria Police Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine. -Credit:Iain Buist/Newcastle Chronicle

The hearing, at Northumbria Police's headquarters on Middle Engine Lane in Wallsend heard how Waugh had admitted an offence of stalking and six computer misuse offences and was handed a 28 week prison sentence suspended for 18 months at Teesside Crown Court.

Force solicitor Helen Thompson explained how Waugh sent his ex partner a series of unwanted messages and turned-up at her home after their two-year relationship ended. And he continued to contact her despite her asking him to stop.

"PC Waugh undertook a course of behaviour that amounted to stalking and harassment of his former partner," Ms Thompson said.

She then went on to describe how the officer had repeatedly used Northumbria Police's computer system to look-up information about his ex, one of her colleagues, members of his family and himself, when he had no legitimate reason to do so.

"It's safe to say the information held on these systems includes a lot of sensitive data," said Ms Thompson. "It wasn't jut a single one off view. There were many searches over a significant period of time."

Ms Thompson also told the hearing that PC Waugh had admitted his actions amounted to gross misconduct.

And Chief Cons Jardine agreed and found that he was guilty of gross misconduct

She said: "All police officers are in a position of trust and responsibility whether on or off duty. He's exhibited harassing behaviour towards a member of the public and acquired a criminal conviction for this behaviour. His behaviour on and of duty has brought disrepute to the force. It undermines the reputation of the service in the eyes of a reasonable member of the public."

As Waugh was sentenced Teesside Crown Court heard how his victim had ended the two-year relationship she had with the cop in May 2023 after noticing what she described as "red flags" of his jealous and controlling behaviour, But Waugh, from Blyth, refused to accept that things were over, and for a period of around two weeks he sent her a number of messages, and turned up at her home uninvited. On one occasion he barged into her house and refused to leave, the court was told.

A neighbour also told the woman she had seen Waugh looking through her garden fence, on June 12 2023. After the victim reported Waugh to police it was discovered he had been using police computers to illegally look up information about the woman, her family and his own family. He had also searched for himself, the court was told.

Waugh, of Ponteland Square, Blyth, pleaded guilty to one charge of stalking and six of computer misuse offences. In sentencing him to a total of 28 weeks in prison sentenced for 18 months, Judge, Ms Recorder Caroline Sellars said his behaviour will severely damage the public's trust in police.

She said: "I'm sentencing you for offences you were able to commit because of that trust and responsibility that you held in your position. Your actions are a serious breach in the public's trust in the police force generally. The damage to the public trust and confidence in policing is immeasurable."

And in relation to the stalking offence, the Judge said: "You were motivated by our own feelings and your own needs. You didn't give a thought to [the victim]. You were unwilling to take no for an answer."

Mark Styles, mitigating said that Waugh had been a hardworking police officer for almost 20 years and was highly thought of by his colleagues. He also served in the army in the late 1990s and was well-respected by his comrades. He said: "On reflection now he understands the gravity of his offending behaviour." Waugh was also given a five year restraining order to keep him away from his victim.