Avon and Somerset Police has issued an apology after one of its undercover officers engaged in an 'inappropriate' relationship.

In a statement a spokesperson for the police said: "While working in an undercover role, a former officer engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a member of the public using their pseudonym.

“The member of the public has no connection with policing and until recently they were entirely unaware of their links to an undercover police officer. They played no role in, and were not connected to, the officer’s operational deployment. This deployment is historic and happened many years ago. We fully recognise for those involved it has been deeply upsetting over a number of years, and remains so today.

“We are sorry. We recognise and understand the devastating and appalling impact this has had on all those affected, and we have taken and continue to take our duty of care to them extremely seriously. Our commitment to support them is unwavering and our genuine and sincere intention is to ensure they’re getting the support they need both now and in the future.

“In 2016 we recognised accountability for decisions should be reviewed independently and so we voluntarily referred these matters to the Undercover Policing Inquiry. We also referred ourselves  to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) and these investigations are still ongoing. We are fully co-operating with both these inquiries and will implement all recommendations made. 

“We expect all our officers and staff to act with the highest levels of integrity and professionalism at all times. We will not tolerate any misuse or abuse of position and there are serious consequences for anyone who engages in this behaviour.

“Our absolute priority is to keep the public safe as well as our officers and staff. We are unable to go into further details to protect the integrity of the ongoing independent inquiries and because we cannot risk putting information into the public arena which could pose a real and substantial threat of serious harm to others.”