HUNDREDS of police officers across the country, including two in Gloucestershire, have been censured for breaching data protection laws over the last five years.

Although Gloucestershire was included in the five constabularies with the least offences, two staff members were censured for disclosing information on a social media site and posting inappropriate comments about a work-related case.

Another worker was investigated for changing information on police systems without due justification or explanation.

A total of 2,031 cases of date protection breaches were recorded across England and Wales between January 2009 and October 2013, according to information obtained by the Press Association.

The investigations led to 186 resignations from members of the police and 113 sackings.

It is thought that at least 34 of those investigated were inspectors or chief inspectors, while 474 were civilian officers.

Javed Khan, chief executive of Victim Support, said: “It is very worrying to think that the personal data of victims of crime, who are often extremely vulnerable, might be being accessed and used inappropriately by people in a position of trust.”

Gloucestershire Police were included in the five least offending forces along with Warwickshire, City of London, Durham and Leicestershire.

Avon and Somerset Police was the worst offending force, closely followed by Merseyside, Greater Manchester, West Mercia and Devon and Cornwall.