The former partner of a police officer who was sacked for divulging information about tragic Mansfield teenager Amber Peat has been given a final written warning for gross misconduct.
Pc Andrew Tideswell, who works out of Mansfield Police Station, was given the last chance despite it being proved that he breached professional standards by sending text messages that included racist and homophobic language about vulnerable victims of crime.
His partner, Pc Samantha Goodwin was fired in October last year after she admitted divulging information through text messages about the body of 13-year-old Amber Peat being found before it was made public.
It was during a search of Pc Goodwin’s home that Pc Tideswell’s phone was also seized.
Text message exchanges with Pc Goodwin, with whom he was in a relationship with, were found on his and her phone with personal comments relating to other incidents.
A misconduct hearing was held at Nottinghamshire Police headquarters at Sherwood Lodge today, Thursday January 7, where 15 misconduct allegations were put to him.
They included texts to Pc Goodwin in which he referred to a domestic violence victim as a ‘nightmare woman’, called one of his inspectors a ‘penis’, described a murder victim as a ‘paedo’ and even made comments about a vulnerable historic sex abuse victim.
Although he admitted sending the messages, Pc Tideswell denied that they amounted to misconduct, claiming they were his private thoughts with his partner and had were never intended for the public.
But after more than six hours of deliberation, Pc Tideswell, a panel which included Assistant Chief Constable Simon Torr found that he had breached 10 of the 15 allegations put to him.
Solicitor Matthew Green, representing the force, said: “They are not just relating to members of the public, but more importantly victims and suspects of crime, some are classed as vulnerable.”
Talking about the interview Pc Tideswell had with police after his phone was seized, Mr Green said: “The general feeling in the interview is not one of remorse and shows little understanding of how harmful the comments are.
“It’s clear the comments are derogatory, inappropriate, racist and homophobic. It demonstrates an enormous lack of respect and courtesy and a terminal lack of awareness of diversity and how to behave as a police officer.
“It’s not acceptable to make comments about victims of crime as a police officer.
“They damage the reputation of Nottinghamshire Police and public confidence in the police.”
The hearing was told how 38-year-old Pc Tideswell, who is from Mansfield Woodhouse, had been in a relationship with Pc Goodwin for over two years, but he had ended the relationship last year.
He had joined the force in 2001 and worked in specialist roles in robbery and car crime units, and was a beat manager in Hucknall.
During today’s hearing he questioned whether it was lawful for the police to have taken his phone during the search of Pc Goodwin’s home.
He also argued that because both he and Pc Goodwin were serving police officers and on conflicting shift patterns, they rarely saw each other and communicated largely through messages.
He said the remarks were his own personal thoughts with little or no chance that the public would ever read them.
Pc Tideswell: “This comes down the thought policing, I’m entitled to have thoughts, I was speaking to someone I trust.
“They are my own personal thoughts, some made in anger, some made in error.
“I can only apologise if I have upset anyone or caused any upset. I have made the comments, but they were made in a private conversation never intended to go out in to the public arena.
“They were to one person secured in a mobile phone which is password protected.
“The extent the force had to go to get the phone is questionable.
“These messages were so far ingrained in my personal life, it was not my professional life. At the time I did not think of the consequences, I would not have expected the public to see them.
“The actions of Nottinghamshire Police have caused that.”