Officer receives final written warning over social media videos
An officer from Northamptonshire Police officer who posted “inappropriate” videos of himself on the social media channel TikTok has been given a final written warning.
Police Constable Aaron Perry posted a number of videos between January 19 and April 8, 2020.
In one, PC Parry and a colleague appeared in police uniform and made references to a detained person as an “illegal immigrant”.
In another, he and a colleague appeared in police uniform in a police vehicle and the video made inappropriate commentary on the coronavirus pandemic. It also contained inappropriate and offensive captions and offensive lyrics in the song ‘Roses’ by Saint Jhn.
A further video posted by the officer showed an unidentified man in the passenger seat of an Audi with the caption “drug dealer”.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched an investigation into the videos in May 2020 after a member of the public complained about their content.
A misconduct hearing last week found PC Perry had committed gross misconduct. He was found to have breached professional standards of behaviour for authority, respect and courtesy; duties and responsibilities; orders and instructions; and discreditable conduct.
IOPC Regional Director Derrick Campbell said: “Police forces have strict policies in place to ensure social media use is not abused by its officers. In the videos PC Parry identified himself as a police officer in uniform and in a police car, in violation of Northamptonshire Police’s social media policy.
“PC Parry claimed a lack of awareness of the relevant policies, but ignorance is no defence. He should have known better and, by coming to its decision, the independent panel has agreed.
“PC Parry is a person in a position of responsibility and his actions – recording the images while on duty and the inappropriate language used in the videos – negatively impacted on the public’s view of policing in general.”
The IOPC agreed with Northamptonshire Police that the other officer had a case to answer for misconduct and they have faced a misconduct meeting at which they received a written warning for their conduct.
The officer did not have a TikTok account at the time of the breaches but had allowed themselves to be recorded by PC Parry while on duty and dressed in uniform and were, therefore, associated to the offensive nature of the clips.
In April 2021, the IOPC announced that it had written to the National Police Chiefs’ Council asking iit to remind forces and officers that the posting or sharing of offensive material via social media was unacceptable and that officers could face investigations for misconduct.