A TOP counter terrorism officer who left confidential papers in his car which were stolen while he was on holiday has been fined.
Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale (pictured above) left the documents in a locked case in the boot of the vehicle for four or five days.
The papers, which included sensitive information about counter terrorism intelligence and investigations, were stolen from the unmarked police car in May.
Beale, 54, who was the counter terrorism lead for West Midlands Police, was fined £3,500 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today.
The officer has been suspended from duty and is due to face disciplinary proceedings.
He pleaded guilty to the charge of failing to safeguard information under the Official Secrets Act.
Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said: ‘It’s obviously incredibly dangerous and potentially very difficult indeed that these documents disappeared in the way that they did.
‘There is no evidence of in fact what happened to that briefcase, it may be it was an ordinary thief after your iPod who thought there was money in the briefcase but we will never know, it has just disappeared.
‘Nevertheless, that a police officer, let alone a very senior police officer, thought it was appropriate to leave a briefcase in the boot of a car which had those sorts of papers in it shows a lack of common sense which was worrying.’
She added: ‘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.’