A senior road policing officer whose unit appeared on television series Police Interceptors has been filmed using his mobile phone while driving.
The 20 second clip given to the BBC and Northern Echo shows Supt Mark Thornton driving away from Cleveland Police headquarters in Middlesbrough.
The film shows him holding his phone to his ear as he drove on 13 July.
Supt Thornton, who has been in the police for 27 years, has apologised. The force said it is investigating.
Mr Thornton, who until recently was head of the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “I’m more aware than most of the potentially devastating consequences of driving whilst distracted.
“I’m very sorry, not because of the impact on me – it’s my responsibility and no one else’s – but to those I feel I’ve let down.
“I will fully accept the consequences of my actions.”
Assistant Ch Con Jason Harwin said: “Driving whilst distracted is serious and the information presented to the force by the Northern Echo will be fully investigated.”
Police and crime commissioner Barry Coppinger said the law against using phones while driving “applies as much to police officers as to anyone else”.
Penalties for using a phone at the wheel doubled on 1 March to six points and a £200 fine.