‘Proud’ Hertfordshire PC sent arrest footage to sisters
A policeman who sent body-worn camera footage to his sisters on WhatsApp has been found guilty of gross misconduct.
Hertfordshire Police officer Christopher Armstrong sent clips of himself chasing suspects and making an arrest after entering a cannabis factory, the police hearing was told.
PC Armstrong said he felt “regret and remorse” for his actions and “only shared the footage out of pride”.
Chief Constable Charlie Hall issued PC Armstrong with a final written warning.
On 17 October 2017, PC Armstrong and a colleague “forced entry” to a property and found “the largest cannabis factory in Hertfordshire”, the hearing was told.
The 32-year-old said he chased two suspects who fled the property before arresting one.
He said he sent his two sisters videos and images from the incident because he felt “an amazing amount of elation and pride”, which he accepts “clouded” his “judgement”.
PC Armstrong told the hearing his actions were “wrong and foolish” but it was an “honest mistake” he “would not make again”.
The Watford-based officer’s actions were discovered when one of his sister’s phones was analysed for an unrelated matter in March 2019, the hearing was told.
The video had been deleted on both PC Armstrong and his sister’s phone but images and messages relating to the footage were still present.
The hearing was told PC Armstrong asked his sisters not to share the content with anyone else as if it ended up on social media he would be in “trouble”.
PC Armstrong received a police caution for sharing the footage.
Mr Hall said PC Armstrong’s actions “clearly breached police guidelines regarding data protection and body-worn camera footage” and that he “should have known” not to share the files.
“The breaches are serious and have the potential to undermine the public’s trust in police”, he said.
Mr Hall found PC Armstrong’s actions amounted to gross misconduct and issued him a final written warning.
“Your actions have been incredibly foolish and ill-considered”, he said.
“This has been a big mistake which you have learned from and it must never happen again.”