In Brief

TikTok videos: police officers and NHS staff told to ‘stop prancing around’

Front-line staff warned that posting dance clips sends wrong message during coronavirus pandemic

Police officers taking part in an online dance craze are sending the wrong message to the public and may face misconduct charges, bosses have warned.

A growing number of police staff have been appearing in TikTok videos showing them “prancing around” in song and dance routines, reports The Times.

But police chiefs claim their online antics are “inappropriate when Britain is in the grip of the deadly Covid-19 outbreak”, says The Mail on Sunday

Gavin Stephens, the national police lead for digital engagement, said: “From a National Police Chiefs’ Council point of view, particularly through Covid, we’re not encouraging people to take part in dancing, rapping TikTok challenges.” 

Chief Constable Andy Cooke, of Merseyside Police, added that the force “holds clear policies about standards of behaviour, including the inappropriate use of social media, and anything which breaches these standards would be subject to potential disciplinary proceedings”.

The dancing police may have been inspired by their public sector colleagues in the NHS, who have also been performing online dance routines “to boost team morale and encourage the public to stay at home”, according to The Guardian.

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In April, TikTok donated £5m to a nursing fund supporting front-line health workers during the coronavirus outbreak, as Metro reported at the time.

The video app’s UK general manager, Rich Waterworth, said: “Not only have we seen the TikTok community show their thanks and appreciation for the healthcare workers in their masses through some amazing videos, we’re also seeing the workers themselves use the platform for some light relief.”

But as with the police performances, not everyone is impressed.  One woman, who claimed her brother and sister both worked in the health service, told the newspaper: “I’m seriously pissed off seeing NHS staff dancing and fooling around... It’s so disrespectful when there are so many ill and dying.”

That view was echoed by Philip Lee, a London-based geriatrician, who tweeted: “I don’t want to be a killjoy. Dressing up in full PPE and doing a dance on tiktok might be great for morale, but have you considered how it might look to someone whose family member just died of Covid-19 in your hospital, and they haven't even been allowed to visit?”

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