Brian Sims

Border Force officer convicted for sharing sensitive intelligence documents

BORDER FORCE officer Jade Hearn, who shared sensitive intelligence documents with incarcerated criminals, has been handed a suspended jail sentence. Hearn, aged 26, worked on an anti-smuggling team at Gatwick Airport and was arrested by officers from the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) Anti-Corruption Unit in January 2021.

The arrest followed a tip-off from officials at His Majesty’s Prison Service that Hearn had been sending pictures of herself in Border Force uniform to a prisoner serving a sentence at HMP Woodhill in Buckinghamshire.

Further investigations conducted by the NCA working alongside the Border Force Joint Anti-Corruption Intelligence Team revealed that Hearn had been communicating with at least four males who were using illegally held phones from inside prison. In some cases, Hearn had sent images of sensitive documents containing details of criminal records and individuals who were in custody after being arrested for drug smuggling.

Hearn also sent a video of drugs seized at Gatwick Airport, including someone holding a tape-wrapped package adorned by a picture of Pablo Escobar. On another occasion, Hearn shared details of a police investigation that she was assisting.Other conversations showed that Hearn was moving money through her bank account on behalf of those involved in drug trafficking, in one case advising them to break payments up into smaller amounts to avoid raising suspicion.

During the course of the investigation, officers found that Hearn had worked at Wandsworth Prison prior to her employment by Border Force and, as such, would have had some knowledge of prison security systems.

Five different offences

Following her arrest by the NCA, Hearn was charged with five different offences including misconduct in public office, encouraging or assisting the use of an illegal prison phone and possessing (and supplying) a Class B drug.Hearn pleaded guilty to all offences.

On 19 January, the presiding Judge in attendance at Southwark Crown Court sentenced her to 20 months in prison, suspended for two years.

Dave Rock, operations manager at the NCA’s Anti-Corruption Unit, stated: “Jade Hearn abused her position as a Border Force officer and knowingly shared sensitive information with people serving prison terms for drug dealing. She communicated with individuals behind bars knowing that they were holding those phones illegally and, further, assisted them in their criminality by arranging money transfers. The NCA worked closely alongside His Majesty’s Prison Service to end their conspiracy.”

Rock continued: “We do not believe that any of the information Hearn passed on caused major impact to ongoing investigations or operations, but there’s no doubt that the potential to do so was there had we not stopped her. Her corrupt activity was the definition of misconduct in public office.”

In conclusion, Rock noted: “We know full well that organised crime groups target insiders at ports and airports for their knowledge and access, which is precisely why stamping out corruption across all law enforcement is such a priority for the NCA and our partners including Border Force.”

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