A detective has been given a final written warning after admitting a series of data breaches when he searched for a woman’s private information.

Detective Constable Richard Crallan first became aware of the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, when he was at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party.

But he stumbled across her name while carrying out legitimate enquiries as part of a murder investigation and searched Cleveland Police’s data base to check with it was the same woman in 2020.

An independent disciplinary hearing heard how the experienced officer then carried further searches the following year, this time involving the woman and her son.

On those occasions, he read a number of confidential intelligence reports including ones relating to complaints she had made against colleagues.

In September of that year, his friend had reported two incidents to Cleveland Police after the woman turned up at his house and started shouting abuse.

And following a series calls and messages between DC Crellan and his friend, Durham Constabulary officer Detective Constable Paul Cooper, the officer went onto the force’s computer system to check out details for his mate.

Stephen Morley, representing Cleveland Police, said DC Crallan should have seen a ‘red flag’ as soon as his friend mentioned the woman had reported him to his force’s professional standards.

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He told the panel that the force accepted the officer was guilty of gross misconduct but didn’t intend to call for him to be immediately fired.

At the start of the disciplinary hearing at Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium, the officer admitted breaching the Standards of Professional Behaviour for police officers in regard to confidentiality, orders and instructions and discreditable conduct.

However, he denied breaching the standards of honesty and integrity which was accepted by the legal representative of Cleveland Police who offered no evidence in respect of those allegations.

Following several hours of deliberation, the legally qualified chair, Callum Cowx, ruled that DC Callan was guilty of gross misconduct and told the officer that he would be issued with a final written warning, which would last for four years.