A FORMER Dyfed Powys Police officer has been given a suspended prison sentence after admitting unlawfully accessing information about the ex-partner of a woman he was in a relationship with.

Westbury appeared at Aberystwyth Magistrates Court on Thursday, where he was handed a six-month prison term, suspended for two years.

He admitted nine counts of computer misuse and data protection charges while he was serving.

The 55-year-old admitted to a “serious breach of trust” by committing the offences at Aberystwyth Police Station between April and May 2019. He has since resigned from the force.

Westbury, of Cefn Esgair, Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth, was charged with seven offences under the Computer Misuse Act of accessing police computer systems without lawful purpose, and two offences under the Data Protection Act of unauthorised disclosure of information. He admitted all offences when appearing before District Judge David Parsons on Thursday.

The charges arose following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Their investigation began in June 2019 after a complaint referral from the force. Following its conclusion the IOPC submitted a file to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider charges. The CPS made the decision to charge Westbury in May of this year, at which time he was no longer serving with the force.

The court heard that Westbury had let down his colleagues and friends, and subsequently dishonourably left the force. The offences were said to have had an impact on his marriage.

In sentencing him to a suspended custodial sentence, Judge Parsons suspended it after taking into account his guilty pleas and an otherwise unblemished record during 24 years of service.

He also ordered Westbury to 12 months supervision with probation and he must carry out 120 hours of unpaid work. He must pay £85 costs and a surcharge of £122.