The former chief constable of West Yorkshire Norman Bettison is facing investigation over his conduct during the Macpherson Inquiry.
Bettison has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) by West Yorkshire Police and the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns Williamson.
It is alleged that he ordered a report to be prepared on a witness during the Macpherson Inquiry - the public inquiry into the investigation of the murder of Stephen Lawrence -which was held in Bradford in 1998.
Deborah Glass deputy chairwoman of the IPCC, said: “From the evidence provided in support of the referral, although there is a suggestion that the reason for carrying out the research was to risk assess the likelihood of any public disorder, the intelligence gathering requested appears to have been both inappropriate and intrusive.
“In the absence of legitimate justification, there is an indication of misuse of police information systems and unlawful processing of the witness’s sensitive personal data which would be a clear indication of recordable conduct concerning this tasking.
“The investigation, which will be overseen by IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts, should also consider whether the tasking was motivated or influenced by racial discrimination.”
Stephen Lawrence was murdered in a racist attack in April 1993.