Two police officers who posted Tik Tok videos of themselves dancing and using foul language while in uniform have been allowed to keep their jobs – despite their actions being branded as ‘gross misconduct’.
Police constables Amy Taylor and April Cooper, of Cambridgeshire Police, 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.
The clips, filmed while the officers were on duty, in uniform, and in once case inside a marked police vehicle, were found to have damaged the reputation of their force.
PC Amy Taylor, who was previously awarded a Chief Constable’s commendation, was one of two officers subject to a disciplinary hearing after posting videos to social media site Tik Tok
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’.
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.
Chief Constable Nick Dean said constables Amy Taylor and April Cooper posted ‘numerous’ clips on Tik Tok, ranging 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
‘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.’
In the misconduct report Mr Dean said he accepted the officers’ ‘motivation was to boost morale’ but added that ‘some of the clips presented cannot in any way be seen to do this’
PC Amy Cooper was previously awarded a Chief Constable’s commendation for saving the life of a woman threatening to take her own life in Whittlesey in Cambridgeshire.
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.
Left: A police officer makes a heart with her hands to the camera, with the message ‘Stay home, stay safe’. Right: A police officer shows off his cartwheeling abilities while wearing his police uniform
This is not the first case of police officers being rapped for their use of the social media platform.
Police chiefs issued a warning after dozens of officers filmed themselves performing the latest dance crazes and lip-syncing to pop songs on social media, including choreographed routines with colleagues, while wearing full uniform or on duty in stations.
Chiefs warned officers it is inappropriate when Britain is in the grip of the deadly Covid-19 outbreak.
Chief Constable Gavin Stephens, the national lead for digital engagement, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘From a National Police Chiefs Council point of view, we’ve been very clear, particularly through Covid, that we’re not encouraging people to take part in dancing, rapping TikTok challenges.’