Police officer faces sack over 'I love weed' hat

A police officer who wore an "I love weed" woolly hat on duty and scribbled "puerile" abuse on a CV during a probe into an allegation of child abuse is facing the sack following a disciplinary hearing.

A panel ruled Pc Simon Ryan of North Yorkshire Police was guilty of gross misconduct after he wrote "paedo", "paedophile" and "kiddie fiddler" on the document to amuse colleagues.

The hearing at the police headquarters is the first disciplinary the force has held where the public and press are allowed to attend.

(Anna Gowthorpe/PA)
(Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

The panel heard Ryan found the CVs at a house during a search into an allegation of a sex offence involving a child in January 2015. Under "interests", he amended the CV to say "abusing children", the hearing was told.

He then showed the CV to colleagues, did not record it as evidence and later destroyed it in the confidential waste at Northallerton Police Station.

Only 10 days later, he was on duty when he wore a hat with a cannabis logo and the message "I love weed", both in the office and while on mobile patrol.

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

Chairman Lindsey Hall announced the disciplinary panel found he was guilty of gross misconduct, having breached six standards police officers should uphold.

(Danny Lawson/PA)

She said the public needs to have faith in the conduct of officers, and that he had shown a lack of respect. Conducting a serious search of a property was "not an appropriate forum for frivolity".

And wearing the hat with the cannabis logo was likely to discredit the police force, she said.

The panel will rule at 11am on Tuesday what the sanction will be. Pleeth argued that Ryan's conduct was so bad that he should be dismissed.

Guy Ladenburg, for the officer, said defacing the CV was "a very poor practical joke" and described it as "puerile", and he urged the panel to let him remain as a police officer, a role he has carried out for 13 years.

He said colleagues described Ryan as "committed, conscientious and diligent".

(Jeff Chiu/AP)

One reference told of him being a "practical joker, although never malicious".

Ladenburg added: "This officer intended simply to make a joke for the benefit of his colleagues. We recognise of course how inappropriate that is."

Ladenburg said Ryan has two children from a previous marriage, two step-sons, and his family relies on his earnings. The hat had been given to him by his 26-year-old step-son, Ladenburg said, and when he wore it he was not seen by any member of the public and was in the dark.

Ryan did not speak during the proceedings and will be back on Tuesday to hear the outcome.

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