UK police chiefs have warned officers to stop taking part in TikTok social media crazes over concerns that their “unprofessional” behaviour is setting the wrong tone during the coronavirus pandemic.
Police officers across the UK have joined the craze recording footage of themselves dancing and singing, often in uniform, and sharing it online.
The Mail Online reports: More videos are being posted every day on the popular app TikTok, even though chiefs have warned them 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, has warned forces about the trend. He 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.’
Chief Constable Andy Cooke, of Merseyside Police, said his officers could even face misconduct investigations over the videos.
He said: ‘We have reminded all officers and staff that such behaviour is wholly unprofessional and will not tolerated by the force.
As a force, Merseyside Police holds clear policies about standards of behaviour, including the inappropriate use of social media, and anything which breaches these standards would be subject to potential disciplinary proceedings.
‘This is a challenging time for policing. Above all else, we are here to support the NHS and keep policing our communities, many of whom would be rightly appalled to see police officers failing to show respect for the uniform they wear.
‘We simply don’t want anything to detract from the outstanding work our officers and staff are putting in at the moment.’
It is understood that Home Secretary Priti Patel takes a ‘dim view’ of the antics, which also risk angering the thousands of members of the public who have been fined by police for socialising during the lockdown. A friend of the Home Secretary said: ‘She is not amused, put it that way.’