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'Crass stupidity'

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A policeman has been sacked after taking photos of two corpses while visiting a hospital mortuary.

The probationary Pc - who has not been named - used a camera phone to take the snaps while visiting Derriford Hospital in Plymouth as part of an induction course.

He was rumbled after others heard the sound of the camera phone taking the pictures. A senior officer with the force told ITV's Westcountry News that the sacked officer had paid the price for "crass stupidity".

Devon and Cornwall Police have apologised to the relatives of the deceased for the incident.

The images have since been deleted.

The use of camera phones is likely to become a hot topic as more people get their hands on these high-tech gizmos.

By 2006, more than 80 per cent of mobile phones shipped in the US and Western Europe will have a camera installed as part of the handset. And as more and more people have these gadgets, companies and organisations will need to think seriously about protecting their security and privacy.

According to analyst firm Gartner, many businesses are trying to ban camera phones from their premises to prevent industrial espionage and to protect their employees' privacy.

But Gartner reckons that any attempt to implement a blanket ban of camera phones is shortsighted and would be hard to enforce.

"Most organisations simply don't have the staff or money to mount effective inspections," said Ken Dulaney, research vice president at Gartner.

"Instead, businesses should designate secure zones where restrictions on these devices are tight and can be enforced. For other workplace areas, staff should be given guidelines about what is acceptable." ®

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