Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale has admitted breaching the Official Secrets Act by leaving police documents in a car
One of the UK’s top police officers today admitted breaching the Official Secrets Act after a large briefcase containing two secret files was stolen from his car.
Former counter terrorism boss Marcus Beale, 54, was given an envelope containing two sensitive documents on 10 May and put them in a locked briefcase in his unmarked police car.
Five days later the case had gone missing from the car on his driveway in the East Midlands in circumstances that have not been revealed.
Beale was suspended from his role as Assistant Chief Constable for West Midlands Police on full pay and was summoned to Westminster magistrates’ court.
Today, he pleaded guilty to one count of a crown servant retaining a document or article contrary to their official duty, contrary to the Official Secrets Act.
Much of the detail of what happened to the documents is shrouded in secrecy.
Prosecutor Jane Stansfield QC said the content of the secret files was so sensitive that it couldn’t be revealed in full in open court.
ACC Marcus Beale was previously the counter terrorism lead for West Midlands Police
Ms Stansfield said: ‘The defendant on the 10 May was given an envelope containing something that he was expecting to receive and that by 15 May, in circumstances I don’t propose to go into, the receptacle in which he had placed that document was missing.
‘The question then is, this is the nature of the allegation, had between 10 May and 15 May the defendant taken such care to prevent the unauthorised disclosure of the contents of that briefcase as a person in a position could reasonably be expected to take?’
‘Because of the nature of the material it has to be dealt with at a very senior level,’ she added.
West Midlands Police previously declined to reveal where the theft took place, or whether any police investigations or operations were jeopardised as a result of the security breach.
Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot withheld Beale’s address from the public after hearing that he might be a risk due to his role as a counter terrorism officer.
Beale, from the East Midlands, will be sentenced at later today.
West Midlands Police, for whom Beale worked, is the second largest force in England
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