Met 999 operator accused of unlawful access of police logs tells court: 'Everyone does it'

Charlotte Servais (Supplied)
Charlotte Servais (Supplied)

A Met Police 999 call operator accused of looking up confidential reports of a fatal stabbing near to her mother’s home said she had no idea it was wrong, telling a court: “Everybody does it.”

Charlotte Servais, 33, accessed a series of Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) logs after 42-year-old Ralph Gibson was attacked in Huntingfield Road in Putney in April 2020.

Mr Gibson later died from his injuries, while Servais’ own brother was arrested in connection with the stabbing but did not face any criminal charges.

Servais admits looking at the CAD reports “out of curiosity”, but says she only now understands that was not allowed.

She told Southwark crown court of an alleged “culture” within her team at the Met’s base in Hendon, of accessing CADs when there is no professional need.

“I wasn’t aware the access was unauthorised until all this situation”, she said, giving evidence in her criminal trial.

“Because of the culture there, everybody does it.

“It doesn’t make it right, but everybody does it.”

Servais, a Met special constable since 2011 who joined the 999 call operation in 2013, says she heard about the stabbing while visiting her mother’s home, and looked up the CADs when she returned to work the following day.

She told jurors she had received training and understood that Police National Computer (PNC) records should not be accessed without a proper policing purpose.

Servais said it was in October 2020 that she first realised that the same rules applied to CADs.

“I know not to go into PNC to look at things you shouldn’t be looking at, or looking at an ex-partner”, she said.

 (Met Police)
(Met Police)

“That was not my understanding of CADs, because of the culture of that environment.”

Servais said she is distant from her brother and she did not recognise Mr Gibson’s name when it featured in the CAD.

She told the court she did not realise when her brother was arrested by murder detectives in July 2020 that he was suspected over the incident she had previously looked up, and therefore did not make a report to a manager.

Her mother’s home was also searched at the time of the arrest.

Servais added: “I always know to tell a line manager if I have come across a CAD which has a friend or family member on it.

“This one was of no relevance to anybody I knew so I wouldn’t tell any line manager.”

Servais, who lives in Stevenage, denies performing an unauthorised computer function between April 16 and 22, 2020.

Two different men were prosecuted over Mr Gibson’s killing.