#PoliceCorruption: George McNaught falsely issued hundreds of fines to be successful at work.
An award winning police community support officer was jailed for six months today for issuing hundreds of false fixed penalty notices.
Desperate for success: Policeman George McNaught falsely issued hundreds of fines to be successful at work
PCSO George McNaught, 48, was found guilty of targeting unwitting members of the public, mainly cyclists, and fining them in what the Judge called an abuse of trust and power. The sentencing came after the Scot was the first PCSO in London to be awarded the commendation of the High Sheriff of London for wrestling a gun out of the hands of a woman as she pointed it at a young boy at Victoria station in 2009. But the Westminster-based PCSO was so desperate for success he started inventing bogus notices, usually for cycling on the pavement. Mr McNaught targeted unwitting members of the public after finding their details on items of lost property. Some victims paid the fines – which ranged from £45 to £320 - while others spent hours arguing about them in court. One ticket was issued to a man who had suffered nerve damage to his arm in an accident and could not even ride a bike, Blackfriars Crown Court heard. Bailiffs were also sent to the home of another woman who had been handed a false notice. Although the exact number of false notices issued is not known, investigating detectives found at least 350 suspect tickets between February 2010 and September last year.
He was caught out after a complaint was made by a man, fined for cycling on the pavement at the Strand. When police searched Mr McNaught’s home they also found a canister of CS gas, known as tear gas, which had been reported missing from a police locker room.
Humiliated victims: One woman was falsely fined £320 by Mr McNaught and was left embarrassed and humiliated
Prosecutor Fallon Alexis gave several examples of individuals who had received the notices. She said: ‘One woman, Hailey Harrington, had been stopped at Victoria Coach station with friends, had bailiffs come to her house after she was ordered to pay £320 in fines. ‘She had to come to a subsequent court hearing and in her own words felt embarrassed and humiliated, due to Mr McNaught. ‘Another man, Chris Stamp, who paid a £45 fine later told police that in fact he had an accident in 1997 in the Cambridge area and he had suffered nerve damage to his left arm and shoulder and he said in a police statement that he could not use a bicycle if he wanted to.’ Judge John Hillen told Mr McNaught his actions were ‘crazy’. He said: ‘It’s an abuse of power by someone who is given power and then decides to use that power in a bad way. ‘As a PCSO he had a power and used it in a crazy way which is extremely harmful.
Lost property: Mr McNaught targeted cyclists using personal details found on lost property
‘You have a positively good character, for some seven years as a PCSO in which I’m told you loved, and indeed did extremely well in. ‘You were serving the public but that trust placed in you, you abused. ‘What motivated you is and remains entirely unclear. ‘There was no financial gain, there was no corruption, there was no acting on behalf of criminals or friends. ‘It seems to me, what you chose to do having been given power, was to abuse that power. ‘The public have to be confident in the fixed penalty notice system and you undermined that confidence. ‘Confidence in the PCSO community has also been undermined.’ Ann-Marie Talbot, defending, said Mr McNaught had since been sacked after working as a PCSO for seven years and moved back to his native Scotland where he worked as a part time cleaner. She said: ‘This was not misconduct for financial gain. ‘It would appear there was no motivation other than a desire to be successful in his job. ‘I don’t think he understands himself though what led him to take these actions.’ Mr McNaught admitted one count of misconduct in a public office and possession of a prohibited weapon.