A PANEL has found that a former officer committed misconduct by using police systems to access the details of two relatives.

A three-day hearing in Northallerton heard that retired North Yorkshire Police traffic constable Mark Thompson looked up the records of his brother and and father in 2014 and 2015.

He spent at total of 45-minutes across the two searches using the police's NICHE records management system.

Mr Thompson maintained that he had a genuine policing reason as he wanted to find information that could help officers target his brother whom he suspected of frequently drink driving.

However, after several hours of deliberation, a panel found that Mr Thompson's actions did amount to misconduct - but not gross misconduct.

Mr Thompson retired from the force last year after spending 30-years with North Yorkshire Police therefore the panel did not impose any sanctions on him.

Stephen Gowland, chair of the panel, told the hearing that an officer of Mr Thompson's experience should have known that he should not be investigating his own family members.

He pointed out that Mr Thompson spent four minutes looking at a record relating to a complaint made by his brother about his sister, which had nothing to do with a drink driving enquiry.

Mr Gowland said: "It is clear looking at the documents there is no way that this could reference any matter relating to any alleged drink driving."

Mr Gowland said that police guidance was clear that any officer who came across a family member during the course of their investigations should immediately stop what they were doing and inform a supervisor.

He said: "It is clear from the evidence that Mark Thompson has not done this."

In summing up the panel's findings, Mr Gowland said that the public would consider that Mr Thompson's behaviour was 'inappropriate' and 'demonstrating a lack of judgement'.

He said that taking all the evidence into account, the panel found that Mr Thompson had breached guidelines and standards expected of a police officer.

In considering whether the former officer's actions amounted to gross misconduct, Mr Gowland said: "The panel has carefully considered the record and character references of Mark Thompson.

"We have also considered the submissions of counsel and the guidance that comes in from these proceedings.

"Taking into consideration all the rules that are relevant, it is our finding that the conduct complained of amounted to misconduct."

Mr Gowland thanked Mr Thompson for appearing personally at the hearing and said the ruling 'ends the matter'.