Officer receives final warning after anonymous, ‘inappropriate’ tweets
A custody sergeant working for Gloucestershire Constabulary has received a final written warning after creating an anonymous Twitter account and using it to post “inappropriate” comments about people in custody.
Sergeant Susan Gaitley created an account under the name ‘Last Rat Standing’ and regularly used it to make derogatory remarks about people’s health and welfare in custody over a three-year period.
Her tweets included “sometimes the odour of scrote gets too much #StraightInTheShower #PoliceCustody” and “Vile vile vile. Prosecute for oxygen theft & non-existent personal hygiene #policecustody#”.
Other tweets showed Sgt Gaitely commenting on committing acts of violence on those she placed in police custody, such as: “Dropped a perfect knee strike into a fighting guest today – only to find they’d wet themselves. Classy. #joblikenoother #policecustody.”
One tweet, dated August 8, 2016, made a remark against a former chief constable with an attached Daily Mail story about them taking many holiday days, along with the comment: “One rule for some. Another for the rest… #ukpolice.”
Sgt Gaitely also used the Twitter account to insult Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Chancellor Phillip Hammond.
At an independent misconduct panel, Gloucestershire Constabulary pushed for the officer to be “dismissed without notice”. The panel found 14 tweets out of 26 made by Sgt Gaitely amounted to misconduct.
The panel said that individually the tweets had not passed the threshold for which she could be dismissed.
“However, given their number and their seriousness we concluded that taken together they did constitute gross misconduct, on the basis that she could be dismissed for the cumulative effect of them,” it added.
The panel then concluded that a final written warning would “show that the matter was taken very seriously… demonstrating to the public and the police service that such conduct was unacceptable but was not too harsh to the officer given her personal mitigation and references”.
Detective Superintendent Mark Chicken of Gloucestershire Constabulary’s Professional Standards Department said: “The behaviour of this officer was totally unacceptable and fell well below the standards we expect of our staff.
“The constabulary made representations to the independent misconduct panel that the officer should be dismissed without notice. However, the panel made a determination that a final written warning was the appropriate outcome.”
“The constabulary respects due process and the determination of the panel, which took into account all of the evidence in the case, including the mitigation of the officer. The officer has stopped using all social media and will be monitored to ensure there is no recurrence of this behaviour.”