A male police officer who had a secret relationship with a relative of someone they were investigating has been dismissed from the force.

The serving Thames Valley Police officer developed a relationship with someone who was a relative of a person the force had been investigating.

The relationship, between September 2019 and January 2020, was only discovered when a routine internal audit of work mobile phones found a "significant" volume of calls between the officer's phone and another mobile number.

The officer was dishonest about how he met the person to his supervising officer and failed to tell TVP's vetting department about a change in his personal relationship circumstances.

Thames Valley Police referred the incident to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), who carried out a two month investigation in March last year.

Investigators gathered evidence including telephone records and computer system audits, an account from the officer and other witness statements.

A three-day gross misconduct hearing, which concluded on Tuesday, January 12, found the officer breached the standards of professional behaviour in relation to honesty and integrity, discreditable conduct, duties and responsibilities, and authority, respect and courtesy.

He has been dismissed without notice.

The officer cannot be identified because reporting restrictions were put in place by the chair of the panel.

IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley said: “The public expect and deserve to have trust and confidence in their police.

"When a police officer is deliberately dishonest it corrodes that trust and is a betrayal of the values for which the police service stands.

“The officer lied claiming he met the woman in a coffee shop but our investigation established the relationship came about after the officer investigated a member of their family

“Such behaviour amounts to serious corruption and those who abuse their position have no place in the service.

"The independent panel has reinforced the message that this sort of behaviour by police officers is never acceptable by dismissing the officer without notice.”

The officer will be placed on the College of Policing’s barred list.