A pair of police officers who posted a TikTok video of themselves in uniform joking about coronavirus at the height of the pandemic were found to have committed 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.
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: “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.
“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.”
Chief Constable 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.”
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 added 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.
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“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,” Dean said.
A misconduct panel found that their actions amounted to gross misconduct and both officers were given a final written warning.