Police officer sacked over offensive tweets about celebrities and sports stars


A police officer has been sacked for tweeting abuse about celebrities and calling for an estate from the TV show Benefits Street where he had policed to be bulldozed with "people still inside it".

Pc Graham Wise, 31, 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.

He called former EastEnder Danniella Westbrook a "washed up cokehead with one nostril", described reality TV star Gemma Collins as a "fat c***" and called tennis player Nick Kyrgios a "bellend", a disciplinary hearing at the force headquarters in Middlesbrough was told.

The officer had previously worked in Stockton, Teesside, and had policed the Tilery estate where Benefits Street was filmed.

Gemma Collins.
Gemma Collins was targeted (Ian West/PA)

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."

Commenting on the show 24 Hours In Custody, he wrote: "Some defence solicitors really grip my shit."

About Lady Colin Campbell, from I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here, he posted: "Why is everyone scared to say Lady C is a c***."

Nick Kyrgios.
Nick Kyrgios faced abuse on Twitter (Adam Davy/PA)

He also called boxer Anthony Joshua's opponent Dillian Whyte a "twat", a "tosser" and "a deluded idiot".

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.

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".

Danniella Westbrook.
Danniella Westbrook was among those subject to offensive comments (Ian West/PA)

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.

Using mobile phone.
Pc Wise told investigators he thought only his followers could see his tweets (Philip Toscano/PA)

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.

Police stock photo.
Pc Wise is also accused of accessing the force intelligence system to look up information on criminals (David Cheskin/PA)

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".

After the hearing Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Warren Shepheard, of Cleveland Police Professional Standards, said: "Police officers are well aware of the standards that the force and communities rightly expect of them.

"Cases such as this erode the trust and confidence that members of the public have in the police service.

"It also tarnishes the reputation of our wider workforce, who are hardworking and dedicated - risking their own lives to save others."