DYFED Powys Police has welcomed the outcome of a former officer who was handed a suspended prison sentence last week for inappropriate use of police computers for personal benefit.

Michael Westbury used police computers to access information on the former partner of his girlfriend and then texted her to say ‘he didn’t like what he had seen’.

Westbury appeared at Aberystwyth Magistrates Court on Thursday, October 1, 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.

A force spokesperson said: “Dyfed Powys Police welcomes the positive outcome at Aberystwyth Magistrates Court on October 1, 2020, in respect of former police constable Michael Westbury.

“The investigation into Mr Westbury was initiated by the force’s professional standards department before being taken over as an independent investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) following a referral by the force.

“Dyfed Powys Police expects the highest level of standards from police officers and staff in line with the code of ethics and standards of professional behaviour and will deal robustly with any officer or staff member who is found to be in breach of these standards. The force will always refer serious matters to the IOPC in accordance with the statutory process.

“The force, in consultation with the IOPC, will now consider whether formal disciplinary proceedings are required under the former officer regulations.”

Westbury, of Cefn Esgair, Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth, resigned in the wake of his arrest, which saw him 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 last week.

The IOPC investigation began in June 2019 after a complaint referral from the force.

The court heard that Westbury had let down his colleagues and friends, and subsequently dishonourably left the force.

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.