Leicestershire Police officer used TikTok account to share ‘provocative videos’ in uniform
A Leicestershire Police officer was investigated for inappropriate use of social media after sharing “provocative videos” while wearing their uniform on TikTok in 2020.
The officer’s account also included a link to an Amazon ‘wish list’- a means by which people solicit gifts from online followers.
Meanwhile, a second officer was also investigated in 2020 due to concerns they had sent a “potentially indecent image” to a colleague via Facebook messenger.
The two cases came to light after a Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request by The Times, which revealed that hundreds of police officers and staff across the country have been investigated for social media abuse.
The investigated incidents included racism, homophobia and grooming, the newspaper reported.
The FOI request revealed the two Leicestershire Police constables were investigated for inappropriate use of social media in a total of two cases since 2018. Both received written warnings.
Their cases were among at least 195 similar investigations across UK forces in 2020.
It comes as police conduct remains under scrutiny by the public and media after two Metropolitan PCs were jailed for taking and sharing photographs of murdered sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman.
The murder of Sarah Everard by former police officer Wayne Couzens also raised serious questions about police conduct and public trust in forces across the country.
A Leicestershire Police spokesperson said the force would not give any further details of the two 2020 investigations, as the cases were “no longer contemporaneous”.
They said: “In relation to the allegation involving Facebook Messenger, it was originally determined by investigating officers that the action amounted to gross misconduct.
“However, following a misconduct hearing, a panel determined the officer’s actions amounted to misconduct and not gross misconduct.
“In relation to the allegation involving Tik Tok, a misconduct meeting was held in-force.
“The outcome in each case is determined in line with the Police (Conduct) Regulations, Home Office guidance and College of Policing guidance.”
Investigations that determine an officer’s actions to amount to ‘gross misconduct’ are usually heard in the public domain unless any specific exemption is made.
Those that determine ‘misconduct’, in contrast, will be dealt with via a meeting internally in force.
Repeat violations are dealt with as via the same process of investigation followed by a meeting or hearing with previous conduct taken into consideration.
In a recent misconduct hearing, in November 2021 it was revealed that former Pc Norman Watson had inappropriate relationships with women he met in the course of his duties.
His actions came to light in August 2020, when the force, which he had served for 13 years examined his work phone and other devices.
LeicestershireLive asked the force to outline the level of conduct training around the use of social media that new recruits are given.
A spokesperson confirmed that recruits are given “a face-to-face presentation” as part of professional standards training around the use of social media for professional and personal reasons..”
“We also run a series of campaigns in force and regularly issue internal messages to remind officers and staff of best practice when using social media and to advise of what is and isn’t acceptable when using social media both for work and personal matters,” a spokesperson added.