York & North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire policeman wore 'I love weed' hat on duty

Newby Wiske police headquarters
Image caption The hearing at Newby Wiske is the first force disciplinary open to the public

A police officer wore a woolly hat with the words "I love weed" while on duty, a disciplinary panel has heard.

PC Simon Ryan also defaced a suspect's CV with the words "kiddie fiddler" and "paedo" during an inquiry into child abuse last year, the hearing was told.

The North Yorkshire Police officer denies gross misconduct and apologised claiming it was intended to "leaven" the mood of colleagues.

PC Ryan admitted his behaviour was "puerile".

During the hearing at the police headquarters in Newby Wiske, near Northallerton, barrister Edward Pleeth, representing the force, said the officer searched a home following an allegation of a sexual offence involving a child in January 2015.

PC Ryan took a copy of the occupant's CV and wrote words to the effect of "paedophile", "paedo" and "kiddie fiddler" on it, Mr Pleeth said.

He amended the CV to say "abusing children" in the section marked "interests" before showing it to colleagues, the panel heard.

The hearing was told he did not record it as evidence and later destroyed it at Northallerton Police Station.

'Practical joke'

Ten days later he was on duty wearing the hat both in the office and while on patrol.

Mr Pleeth said PC Ryan "demonstrates a total lack of insight into the severity and nature of this offending behaviour".

He said the officer admitted "tampering with evidence", removing it and then destroying it. That amounted to theft of the CV.

"The public are rightly entitled to have complete confidence and faith in the honesty and integrity of officers allowed into their private space," he said.

"The wearing of the hat, even as a joke, was entirely inappropriate, as PC Ryan accepts."

'Schoolroom behaviour'

Guy Ladenburg, defending, said defacing the CV was "a very poor practical joke" in bad taste, but the document had no evidential or financial value.

He said it was "puerile behaviour, expected to be seen more in the schoolroom".

Mr Ladenburg said the hat was given to him by his 26-year-old stepson and was not seen by the public when he wore it.

He added: "PC Ryan offers a wholly unconditional apology to his colleagues, to North Yorkshire Police force and to the wider members of the public.

"He recognises, of course, it was inappropriate."

The independently chaired panel adjourned to consider the gross misconduct allegation.