A police officer has had allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour proven against him.

PC A, who was granted anonymity for the hearing by an independent Legally Qualified Chair, was the subject of a two-day misconduct hearing, at Sussex Police Headquarters, Lewes, which concluded on Tuesday (22 February).

He faced allegations of breaching standards of professional behaviour in respect of Honesty and Integrity, Orders and Instructions, Confidentiality, Authority, Respect and Courtesy, and Discreditable Conduct, after an investigation by the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) into an allegation that he may have pursued had an inappropriate relationship with a member of the public who he met in the course of police duties, that he failed to declare this relationship to his superiors and that on a number of occasions he used police computer systems to view reports relating to that member of the public, her family and ex-husband without a policing purpose.

The panel found the allegation against PC A in respect of forming an inappropriate relationship and the failure to report it to supervisors was not proven. The allegation in respect of inappropriate use of police systems was found to be proven by the panel and amounted to misconduct and a breach of the standards of professional behaviour in respect of confidentiality.

The officer was issued with a written warning.

Deputy Chief Constable Julia Chapman said: “We expect our officers to act with the upmost integrity, and in accordance with the Code of Ethics and the Standards of Professional Behaviour. The actions of the officer fell far short of these which is reflected in the findings by the panel.

“I am extremely proud of the vast majority of our staff, officers and volunteers working hard within Sussex Police to protect our communities, catch criminals and deliver the outstanding service that the public should rightly expect. The unacceptable conduct that has been heard here will not be tolerated but this poor behaviour should not overshadow the hard work of others.”