Final written warning for officer over inappropriate TikTok videos

A Northamptonshire Police officer who posted inappropriate videos of himself on social media has today been given a final written warning, following our investigation.

An independently chaired disciplinary panel found gross misconduct proven against Police Constable (PC) Aaron Parry at a hearing organised by the force, which ended on 8 July.

He was found to have breached professional standards of behaviour for authority, respect and courtesy; duties and responsibilities; orders and instructions; and discreditable conduct.

We started our independent investigation in May 2020 after a woman complained that inappropriate videos were posted on the social media platform TikTok between 19 January 2020 and 8 April 2020.

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 showed an unidentified man in the passenger seat of an Audi with the caption ‘drug dealer’.

We shared our findings with the force, which agreed the officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct.

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.”

In April 2021 we announced that we had written to the National Police Chiefs Council asking them 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.

During our investigation into PC Parry, which concluded in April 2021, investigators interviewed him and another officer involved, and analysed the TikTok clips. Several force and national policies in relation to social media usage were also reviewed along with force communications regarding the use of TikTok.

We agreed with Northamptonshire Police that the other officer had a case to answer for misconduct and they have faced a misconduct meeting where 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.

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