A POLICE officer abused his position by using confidential data to track his ex-girlfriend after becoming jealous, a disciplinary panel heard.

PC Forrest Knight phoned police to falsely report concerns for her welfare after she refused to return his calls, then looked up her case in the force's computers.

The 48-year-old told the woman her car had been picked up by police cameras at Gatwick airport, leaving her feeling "violated" and "freaked out".

Yesterday (Monday) he was found guilty of three counts of gross misconduct over that behaviour in April last year, and a fourth count after he accessed police records relating to his ex-wife and her new boyfriend in March 2014.

Assistant chief constable Robin Smith, chairing the panel, said the behaviour "reflected a disturbing pattern of behaviour in respect of female partners," adding the panel was "deeply concerned" about the impact of his behaviour on his ex-girlfriend.

Mr Knight had denied the four charges of gross misconduct but admitted misconduct for recording that he had started a shift two hours after actually had.

The disciplinary panel at Sussex Police's headquarters heard he had become jealous of his ex's new relationship and had sent her aggressive text messages.

She told him not to contact her but he persisted, pretending he had been hit by a car, before phoning police at 3.20am to say he was worried she had not answered her phone.

He tracked the incident on police computers, the panel heard, and did not tell police when he received an email from her account at 6.30am to say she was ok.

Days later he told her that he knew where she had been because her car had been seen by a police camera at Gatwick at 2.05pm that day, the panel heard.

He denied having told her that, saying she must have made it up and knew the location of the camera that pictured her car because she watched a lot of police dramas.

He said he had only earlier looked up his ex-wife's then boyfriend and added information because he had been told he had a criminal record and was trying to protect his children.

His acrimonious divorce had coloured his judgement throughout and he had been depressed, he added.