A police officer was caught red-handed using his mobile phone behind the wheel after posting footage of himself online via Snapchat.
Pc Matthew Breathwick filmed himself listening to music as he drove his marked vehicle down the A17 in Lincolnshire on November 6th, 2020, and posted the content on the social media site. Breathwick resigned from his position in March after he was convicted of using a hand-held mobile phone while driving.
Driving while using a handheld mobile device carries a £200 fine plus six penalty points on a driving licence.
The incident took place while he was on a night shift and other colleagues became aware of his behaviour when he posted a video of songs playing inside the police van to a shared group on the social media app Snapchat. A Force misconduct panel heard that when they challenged him about the footage the next day Pc Breathwick repeatedly lied that he had not used the phone, claiming instead that the fleece he was wearing had activated the phone which he said had remained in its place in his stab vest.
However, the hearing was told that an officer who was sitting next to him was so frustrated with his behaviour that she asked to be dropped off and made her own way back to their police station in Spalding, Lincs.
Force solicitor, David Ringtold, the hearing: “To be blunt, it beggars belief that a serving police officer behaved in that way, especially at night, driving at 50mph on the A17 … a police officer, while on duty, doing exactly what the public are told not to do.”
Breathwick was found guilty of gross misconduct by the Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable, Chris Hayward, who said that if Breathwick had not resigned he would have been dismissed from his job. He said the decision was made with a “heavy heart” after a number of positive testimonials about the officer’s character and volunteering work were read out.