Lancashire Constabulary is facing three separate inquiries into its handling of the Nicola Bulley search.
The mum-of-two went missing while walking her dog Willow near the River Wyre more than three weeks ago.
The police force could face censure over the decision to go public with intimate details of Nicola's private life.
READ MORE: Nicola Bulley's final text shows 'she wasn't in crisis', says ex-cop
The Independent Office for Police Conduct announced on Thursday (February 16) that it was considering an investigation after the force referred itself over the fact that officers had been to Nicola's home 17 days before she vanished.
Two further inquiries have been announced, with Lancashire Constabulary carrying out an internal review and the Information Commissioner launching an investigation.
The decision to tell the public about the 45-year-old's issues with alcohol and the menopause is being looked into as a potential breach of data protection regulations.
Information Commissioner John Edwards said health information is “treated to an even higher standard” than other personal details as he explained the decision to investigate.
He said that the force would need to demonstrate that going public with the information was in order to achieve a “legitimate law enforcement objective”.
Asked if the force will have broken the law if they cannot provide such a justification, Mr Edwards told Radio 4: “That's right, yes.”
His office has the power to issue sanctions and warnings, as well as fine organisations who breach the law.
He added: “In this case we are talking about what's called 'special category data'.
“So, health information is treated to an even higher standard than the general sort of personal information.
“It would need to be a really clear and demonstrable need, and a clear link between that disclosure and a legitimate police objective.
“They need to be able to explain to my office in the first instance the connection between that use or disclosure of the personal information and that legitimate law enforcement objective.”
Lancashire Constabulary had already announced plans to conduct an internal review, although it has resisted calls to bring in an external force to look into how the case has been handled.
A spokesman for the force said: “A review of the investigation is diarised and will be conducted by our head of crime, Detective Chief Superintendent Pauline Stables.”
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