Police officers committed gross misconduct by posting ‘offensive’ TikTok videos
Two police officers who posted TikTok videos of themselves on duty and in uniform, which damaged the reputation of their force, were found to have committed gross misconduct.
In one clip, both officers were seen in full uniform in a police station dancing in an “inappropriate way utilising fire marshal tabards”.
In another, they appeared in a police vehicle “shouting offensive language”.
Police Constables Amy Taylor and April Cooper, of Cambridgeshire Constabulary, were subject to a disciplinary hearing after a member of the public reported the series of “unprofessional” videos to the force in April this year.
Chief Constable Nick Dean said there were “numerous” clips, adding: “These videos, which I have seen, range from dancing, in uniform in a police station whilst on duty, to being within a marked police vehicle, in uniform, on duty, using offensive language.”
In one clip, with the caption “when calling in sick at work and they ask what’s up”, PC Cooper appeared in uniform shouting “coronavirus” down a phone.
“This clip was made in the height of a pandemic, which is still ongoing yet you appear to be insensitive to the many thousands who have suffered and the vital role that emergency services and other agencies played in this outbreak, and continue to do so,” said Mr Dean.
“This clearly shows a lack of respect and sensitivity to those that were suffering or indeed their families and friends.
“This brings the service into disrepute and damages public confidence.
“You did not treat the public or your colleagues with respect or courtesy.”
Mr Dean said he accepted that the officers’ “motivation was to boost morale” but added that “some of the clips presented cannot in any way be seen to do this”.
He said that the reach of the videos on TikTok had been “extensive” but that the officers took “immediate action” to remove the clips once highlighted to them.
“I accept that in hindsight that you both have accepted that you did not consider the wider implications of your actions at the time, however, there is no doubt in my mind that the clips have damaged the reputation of this constabulary,” Mr Dean said.
A misconduct panel found that their actions amounted to gross misconduct and both officers were given a final written warning.
Earlier this year, another group of officers from Cambridgeshire Constabulary went viral after they filmed themselves dancing to a song while wearing face masks and washing a police vehicle. The video was viewed more than 660,000 times in the 48 hours following its release.
However, despite the popularity of these videos, chief officers have warned that such behaviour sends the wrong message to the public.
Yesterday (September 15) a disciplinary panel warned police officers must be “mindful” of the potential to damage the reputation of the police when using social media. The message came after a detective almost lost his job for sending a racist meme to a police WhatsApp group after an evening of drinking.