back to article Manchester fuzz 'truly sorry' for 'accidentally' hacking phone of whistleblower cop's girlf

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has issued an apology to a senior police officer's partner whose phone was "accidentally hacked while in an evidence bag." The GMP incident report into the hacking was obtained by the Manchester Evening News, which reported that the BlackBerry owner remains furious over the hack, despite GMP's …

  1. mark 120

    As well as buttons being pressed while in the evidence bag, was it put in there switched on or not? And if it was in there switched on, how long was it there for and did it need charging before the buttons were accidentally pressed?

  2. Jeff 11

    "Experts analysed the phone for the police and found that the '1' key would have had to be pressed and held down to access the voicemail and then, during that call, the adjacent '#' key had to be pressed to connect to the person who had left the message, as happened on this occasion."

    Wow. You might want to provide a third set of quotes around the word 'hacking'?

  3. Anomalous Cowturd

    The # key adjacent to the 1

    Not on any phone I've ever seen...

    1. Fred Dibnah
      Thumb Down

      Re: The # key adjacent to the 1

      Then you've never seen a Blackberry. Go take a look and you'll see.

      1. Anomalous Cowturd

        Re: The # key adjacent to the 1

        I sit corrected Sir. Perhaps I should have said "Not on any phone I've ever owned."

        Have a beer.

  4. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Lost hyphens

    Counter Corruption Unit - they go around corrupting shop counters? And do they extend their remit to kitchen worktops as well?

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: Lost hyphens

      Don't be so bloody silly!

      They investigate dodgy dealings within the cut-throat world of full-contact Tiddlywinks.

  5. choleric

    Improperly accessing, abusing, warrantless searching: yes.

    Hacking: not exactly.

    1. rtb61

      It tends to go beyond that as one of their own employees they were targeting, so you have labour problems and on to if that targeting a whistle blower so intent to pervert the course of justice.

      This is way more than some childish whoops tee hee, I didn't mean to do that, some people deserve to spend some time on the other side of the bars.

  6. Trollslayer


    Like Thames Valley police shredding half a ton of documents?

  7. Dan McIntyre

    When Raising Grievances...

    Seems to be a 'thing' that when raising grievances against large organisations they then launch an offensive against the aggrieved individual.

    Some years back I worked at the now-defunct NHS Connecting for Health. While on long-term sickness I found out that various members of the management and HR team were snooping into my private family life, as in where my partner's kids went to school and whether I was allowed to drive or not, among other things.

    Upon raising a grievance about some of these things I was then thrown into a disciplinary procedure and an investigation was carried out by a large law firm in Leeds. This led to a large folder of supposed "evidence" which was nothing more than conjecture being produced and mailed to me.

    My response was to query how they planned to prove any of what they had written. The entire thing was dropped instantly.

    1. Lyndon Hills 1

      Re: When Raising Grievances...

      Seems to be a 'thing' that when raising grievances against large organisations they then launch an offensive against the aggrieved individual.

      There are stories like this in every issue of Private Eye, and have been for some years now.

      The culprits usually seem to be public bodies - NHS, Education, Council, Police. Common to all of these seems to be that the organization concerned spends truly vast amounts of money on their internal investigation, to avoid being shown up.

      1. Christoph

        Re: When Raising Grievances...

        Absolutely. Ex-ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray got accused of all sorts of sexual and other offences when he kept complaining to his bosses about torture there.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: When Raising Grievances...

          Craig's blog:

          He was 'visited' this week. . .

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Been there - had that happen

    At least she got the phone back; the rozzers took a lot of undocumented stuff from my house - much of which was never returned.

    2 years of legal action against them got nothing but a large legal bill.

    Highlights :-

    Every PC taken was returned broken

    Numerous MS OS disks vanished

    Numerous SD cards vanished.

    Car keys vanished for nearly a year - then returned without comment or apology.

    ~£150 in mixed foreign currency vanished.

    Still not sure why they took unused seaside postcards from Devon and Cornwall, but at least they returned them.

    It took a year to get most of my stuff back - so if they ask to see your PC, tell them to get a court order - even if (like me) you are innocent.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      Re: Been there - had that happen

      > Every PC taken was returned broken

      Not the first time I heard this. One more reason for off-site backup.

    2. CAPS LOCK

      Re: Been there - had that happen

      Seized equipment returned after a long delay and broken - S.O.P for the Five Oh.

      Large bill and no results - S. O. P. lawyers, sad to say.

  9. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    No Accident

    The message is loud and clear. "Don't report on anything we do, or we'll fuck you over... and everyone you know".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No Accident

      Yup - this case is a large red flag to anyone tasked with keeping police forces free of corruption. This stinks to high heaven.

    2. Hans 1

      Re: No Accident

      Now, I live in France and on an article on here, some bloke claimed you could report dodgy behaviour of the force at your local police station ... I wrote that doing that would be a bad idea in France, which would, eventually, cause you to leave the area for good. Apparently, it is the same in the UK, nice!!!

      Note that where I live, an entire police station was put under investigation for fraud, extortion, corruption and drug dealing. Multiple officers were eventually to face trial and had to leave the force, of which senior officers. The guy who managed to make that happen was an incorruptible officer who had been dispatched to the station in question. They made his life a nightmare for months before "proper" investigation was carried out by officials from Paris.

      Where do you go to complain about dodgy police behaviour ? To the police station in your area, you might even end up reporting the incident to the perpetrator, if you happen to be unlucky ...

      Any human being with powers is going to abuse those powers if you do not have proper checks in place, human nature.

      The good thing is the press coverage, the force will have to do the right thing, investigate the bunch of arse-holes of the GMP.

  10. Drudgery Leak

    So then Manchester - corrupt hell-hole, or place where whistleblowers finally see justice being done?


    Like more-or-less everyone else I find this excuse...

    ... laughable.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. stuff taken

    I think this has to do with RIPA, etc.

    It seems that if the decryption key is found "in plain sight" ie a composite of existing information such as the plaintext of a postcard they can decrypt the information then do the usual "Do you have the key, if not do not pass go, go directly to jail" routine knowing full well what the drive(s) contain.

    In some cases the sentence can actually be longer than the fraud, etc convictions that would result if the perp just handed over the keys willingly, which is why the system is broken for severe offences.

  13. Sarah Balfour

    GMP are the most corrupt, most thuggish force in the country. They're bullies in uniform. I fully believe that the majority of the cunts only joined up so they could get away with doing shit that'd see 'em doing 10-15 if they were civvies. During an anti-fracking demo at Barton Moss, one can clearly be seen slipping a packet of white powder into the bag hanging on the handle of a severely disable lass's wheelchair. They later stop and search her, brutally flinging her to the ground by her hair and standing on her neck (she has MS). In addition to the planted coke, they find around an ounce of weed. She's then dragged off to the shop where, according to her girlfriend and her sister, she's forced to undergo a full body cavity search. I never found out what happened to her after that.

    I've had my own head used as a football on several occasions, for the 'crime' of being a high-functioning autistic person having a panic attack.

    Now, I've just had dinner, so it's kipping time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      GMP are the most corrupt, most thuggish force in the country.

      Worse than the Met? Surely not.

  14. mark jacobs

    It's not just GMP. The Met are also awful.

    Shortly after the Stephen Lawrence murder, someone went into the police station supposedly investigating the matter, and handed them a hand-written list of likely suspects (from "word on the street"), and the station officer who took the paper it was written on, screwed it into a ball and chucked it into the waste paper basket. That typifies the attitude of the police force we pay council tax for. The murder of Charles De Menezes was filmed on camera phone by someone on the station platform where it happened. Several police officers got on-board the carriage where Charles was (and he did NOT have a backpack on, just T-shirt and jeans), they pinned him down to the floor with their weight, and fired 11 rounds into his head. WTF!?!

    Police = FAIL. Who polices the police? The police!

  15. Anonymous Coward

    "cop's girlf"

    Cop's grilf, surely.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On a technical note ...

    is it possible to set a PIN on voicemail even when called from the "owning" phone ?

    Because if it is (or was) it would have rather exposed any "it happened accidentally" defence as the crock of shit it undoubtedly is - not that it would have affected the outcome in any way shape or form.

    I've mentioned this story before, but a few years ago, our office was broken into. We dutifully supplied a CCTV file to the police who promptly "lost" them. When we said "not to worry, we'll make another copy", they become very aggressive, and threatened "obstruction", "tampering with evidence". Although to be fair my bosses add-on "so you can lose as many as you like" may not have gone down too well ...

    1. Hans 1

      Re: On a technical note ...

      Watch out, young padawn, if you really make them go mad, they will have you for pedophilia ...

  17. Graham Marsden

    "Accidentally hacking into"...?

    Hmm, one to remember if any El Reg reader is nicked for a similar crime...

  18. WatAWorld

    If the evidence room is not secure then every other court case should be dismissed

    "GMP's investigation into the phone hacking noted that a voicemail had been accessed illegally, although it concludes that it was not possible to prove "beyond all reasonable doubt" whether any CCU officers had broken the law."

    If the evidence room is not secure, meaning it cannot be determined who hacked the phone, then every other court case depending on evidence held there should be dismissed.

    Are they going to dismiss court cases in which civilians (not police) are the defendants?

  19. Sirius Lee

    Surely such allegation ought to be investigated by an independent group not by another force. Such a group could have the weight of law behind it and be a 'commission' to independently investigate complaints against the police. It could be called the Independent Police Complaints Commission or IPCC for short. Then if it investigates, there's less concern about the thoroughness and independence of any investigation. Of course if a body like the IPCC existed and the police used other police to investigate allegation against them it might raise a flag about impartiality.

  20. Tubz

    Funny how newspapers and private investigators are put in front of a judge for phone hacking, yet coppers don't. more proof that the police are no longer upholding the law but actively breaking it and covering it up. Anybody would think we live in a police state ?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. "police state"

    You only noticed this now?

    Never heard the "frog in a pot" theory?

    No wonder we have never had any time travelling alien visitors, etc as they are probably too afraid to show up in case they get Gitmo'd, shot at etc.

    Given the current state of things, I sometimes wonder if total anarchy with the survival of the fittest would actually be *less* brutal than the current so-called status quo.

    Beating up defenseless disabled people proves just how deep the FAIL goes, is it no wonder individuals like Mckinnon, Assange etc are afraid to be seen in public.

    AC, although a Davy Crockett deposited on the front steps of Number 10 would be poetic justice.<joke!>

  22. ItsNotMe

    Gee...WHAT a surprise...or not.

    "No disciplinary action was taken against any of the counter corruption bobbies, although two officers were reportedly "given 'words of advice' about slipshod paperwork.""

    Imagine that. The lousy Pigs who pulled this stunt off have had no repercussions from their superiors. And that boys and girls is exactly I rank cops one place higher than Pond Scum in the chain of evolution...but two places higher than politicians.

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