A chief constable has been accused of "an unacceptable attempt to discredit the investigation" into his conduct after he was given a final written warning for helping a relative during a police recruitment drive.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) made the accusation after North Yorkshire Police's top officer, Grahame Maxwell, admitted gross misconduct over his actions last year.
The IPCC said Mr Maxwell, 50, had questioned its investigators' abilities. It also said the chief's first defence had been "essentially saying he could do what he wanted because he was the Chief Constable".
IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long said: "The IPCC at various stages has been accused of disproportionality. We have been challenged by some senior policing figures and our investigators' abilities were questioned by the Chief Constable in an unacceptable attempt to discredit the investigation."
Mr Maxwell admitted gross misconduct at a hearing at a secret location on Monday.
The hearing followed allegations he helped a male relative of his and a female relative of North Yorkshire's then Deputy Chief Constable Adam Briggs circumvent an oversubscribed hotline during a high profile force-wide recruitment campaign. Neither got a job.
Mr Long said: "The Chief Constable and his Deputy are the two most senior officers in the force and are supposed to lead by example and set the standards for others to follow. They chose to circumvent systems that had been put in place to benefit people they knew, while others were expected to follow the process.
"CC Maxwell's initial defence was that his actions were 'direction and control', essentially saying he could do what he wanted because he was the Chief Constable. That is an unacceptable attitude from such a senior officer. It is to be welcomed that CC Maxwell now acknowledges and has admitted his gross misconduct."
Mr Long said that neither Mr Maxwell and Mr Briggs disputed the key parts of the evidence against them.
In a statement, the Chief Constable's solicitors, Kingsley Napley, said: "He is sincerely sorry and saddened that a very difficult week resulted in errors of judgment, but continues to lead the North Yorkshire Police and wishes only to focus on doing his best for the force in his position as its chief constable."