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DVLA sacks 14 after email porn freezes computers

Fourteen staff at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea have been sacked and 101 disciplined after they swapped so many pornographic emails that it affected the organisation’s mainframe computer.

The action was taken after a three-month inquiry into the controversy. The 14 employees, including one higher executive officer, were dismissed for sending obscene emails to people outside the DVLA.

The others, who were given various degrees of reprimand including final warnings, had sent the material to colleagues within the building.

The DVLA, which has 6,000 staff, handles all of Britain’s driver and vehicle records.

A spokeswoman said that the pornography had been downloaded from the Internet by staff during working hours.

The images were then attached to emails that were sent around the 20-storey building in Morriston, Swansea.

Trouble began when computers started slowing down because of the size and number of images being sent. Other members of staff, unaware of what was going on, complained that obscene material was being attached to innocent-looking emails. Bosses ordered the investigation and the IT department was able to pinpoint the computers involved.

The spokeswoman said that those who sent images to people outside the building “risked bringing the DVLA into disrepute”.

She added: “Following an investigation, DVLA has started dismissal proceedings against 14 members of staff for gross misconduct.

“The staff concerned were found to have used the agency’s electronic systems to send pornographic email attachments out of the agency, in direct contravention of DVLA’s code of conduct.”

She said that tighter controls had been introduced which would monitor all emails with images attached.

A woman worker who did not want to be named said: “Boredom is a major problem in this place. The work can be very tedious and people find ways of livening up their days.

“The early stuff was pretty innocent, a joke really. A very boring document would have a picture of a naked woman attached, for example.

“I suppose it was bound to get out of hand. The stuff became more outrageous and then some of the men started sending ordinary emails to female colleagues and then watching their reaction when they opened the attachment.

“There are a lot of girls up here and some took it as a laugh, and even got involved themselves, but it only takes a couple of complaints and everyone gets into trouble.”

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