A former North Yorkshire Police employee was jailed today at Teesside Crown Court for firearms and misconduct offences.
Judge Sean Morris sentenced Paul Duffield of Oulston Road, Easingwold, to a 10 month custodial sentence for two counts of possession of a firearm without authority, three counts of possession of ammunition without authority, and two counts of misconduct in public office.
The misconduct in public office offences refers to Duffield trying to be paid fro what should have been free firearms advice.
At the time of the offences, Duffield was employed as a Firearms Enquiry Officer (FEO) at North Yorkshire Police – a civilian post in most police forces in the UK
An FEO is responsible for visiting the homes of firearms and shotgun licence applicants, and holders, to ensure they meet the legal safety requirements for storing such items.
They can also carry out background checks on those applying for firearms licenses.
Duffield retired as a police constable in 2013, having been awarded a long service certificate, and took up the civilian role within the firearms department the following year.
Top shooter and one-time Olympic hopeful, Duffield asked for more than £700 from two plush North Yorkshire hotels for consultancy work that was part of his normal role as a civilian firearms enquiry officer.
The allegations against him came to light in April 2017 and Duffield was suspended from duty.
North Yorkshire Police mounted an investigation and in May 2017 he was arrested before resigning in January 2018.
This is the only time that an FEO at North Yorkshire Police has ever been charged with these offences, and the force has since undertaken a review of the whole firearms department to ensure the tightest possible controls are in place.
The judge told him: "Corruption is like a creeping cancer - it may start small but it can rapidly spread.
"Fortunately in your case it was arrested, literally, before it could go any further."
Commenting on the case, Assistant Chief Constable Amanda Oliver of North Yorkshire Police said: “Paul Duffield worked for the police service.
"He should have acted with integrity, yet he broke the law.
"He has abused the public’s trust, and done a grave dis-service to his police colleagues who perform their duties with the commitment and responsibility that the public has a right to expect.
“He must now face up to the consequences of his criminal actions.
“I would like to reassure the public that we have done everything possible to ensure that such activity cannot happen again.
"And I would like to thank everyone involved in this investigation, for the prompt and decisive action they took in bringing this offender to justice, once his activities were known.”