Cleveland Police Officer Sacked After Sending Abusive Tweets

15 August 2016, 16:52 | Updated: 15 August 2016, 16:59

A Cleveland police officer has been sacked for tweeting abuse about celebrities.

PC Graham Wise, was found guilty of gross misconduct after he admitted sending some of the offensive messages from the canteen of Cleveland Police's headquarters while he was on breaks.

The 31 year old sent the abuse to former EastEnders actress Danniella Westbrook, reality TV star Gemma Collins and tennis player Nick Kyrgios.

A disciplinary hearing at the force headquarters in Middlesbrough heard the officer had previously worked in Stockton, Teesside, and had policed the Tilery estate where Benefits Street was filmed.

He tweeted the Gazette newspaper saying: "Bulldoze it, preferably with the majority of people still inside it.''

He tweeted about a character from the reality show Benefits By the Sea, saying: "Hopefully by the end of the show Disco Dave will be dead. #rats.''

Asked by the disciplinary panel chairman Gerry Sydenham if he was on breaks at the force HQ when he sent the tweets, Pc Wise replied:
"I will have either been in the canteen or the kitchen next door.''

Asa Anderson, counsel for the force, said that although PC Wise told investigators he thought only his 170 followers could see his tweets, he used hashtags, and they were all accessible by the public.

Mr Sydenham said it was a "sustained, repeated and very serious disregard of professional standards of behaviour expected by police officers'' and the comments were ``egregious''.

Pc Wise, who has a long-term partner and a son, looked deflated when he was told he was to be immediately dismissed for gross misconduct.

An investigation was launched after an email, possibly sent by someone using a pseudonym, accused Pc Wise of sending tweets of an abusive, sexist or derogatory nature to sports personalities, TV stars and victims of crime.

Pc Wise told investigators he had been "absolutely stupid''.

The hearing was told some tweets made it obvious he was a serving officer, including one which referred to him having a role at HQ.

He also accessed the force intelligence system to look up information on criminals, some of whom he went to school with, without justification. He was not accused of passing on that information to any third party.

Pc Wise told investigators he was a "nosey policeman'' and wanted to bring himself up to date after a period off work with illness.

Some of the hearing was closed to the media when it dealt with aspects of his medical history.

Pc Wise, who had served in the Royal Navy, said in an open section of the hearing that he had mental health issues and he was still undergoing treatment.

At the time of the investigation, Pc Wise was working in a role at police headquarters dealing with calls from the public and assessing whether they warranted uniformed officers to attend.

Mark Aldred, counsel for Pc Wise, had urged the panel to let him continue with his job, saying the tweets were sent while he was ill, and searching the computers for intelligence about criminals was a result of "idle curiosity''.