A police inspector who was sacked after he posted a picture of his penis on Facebook today claimed he meant to text the saucy snap to his girlfriend – but hit the wrong button on his phone.
Bungling Northamptonshire Police Inspector Daemon Johnson, 45, was fired after stunned staff spotted the explicit image on the social networking site.
The experienced officer – who has served the force for 25 years – was dismissed for gross misconduct last week following a disciplinary hearing.
But Mr Johnson said he intended to send the rude snap as a text message but accidentally posted it on his partner’s Facebook page after a 12-hour shift in April.
He said: “It has been dreadful having this hanging over my head for the past few months.
“I made a mistake on my phone keypad and I have paid for that mistake with my career.
“I have been inundated with messages of support from all over the place, a huge number of them from colleagues.
“But I’ve also had great support from ordinary members of the public living in the areas in which I served. I feel choked thinking about it, I feel very humbled.
“Although I understand the Professional Standards panel’s decision, I consider this wholly disproportionate to the matters that I was held to account for.
“I have at no time been suspended and was actively engaged in policing right up to my dismissal.
“I have 25 years of excellent service and put in place a number of innovative community schemes in Northampton that benefit those who may be disadvantaged or at risk of harm.”
Describing himself as a “20th-century copper in a 21st-century force”, Mr Johnson refused to confirm whether he would take his case to appeal.
He said his current partner had stood by him throughout the months of investigation – during which the inquiry team had trawled through every email and text message he had sent.
Mr Johnson added he felt “embarrassed” by the affair and regretted that his 70-year-old father had learned of the story while watching a TV news bulletin.
Last week, Superintendent Jan Meagher, Northamptonshire Police’s head of professional standards, confirmed Mr Johnson had been sacked.
Supt Meagher said: “The matters breached the standards of professional behaviour namely ‘discreditable conduct’ and ‘equality and diversity’.
“The panel decided that the most appropriate outcome was dismissal. We expect the highest standards from our officers and staff.
“We will take robust action in cases where we find the standard expected has not been upheld.
“As with all disciplinary hearings, every officer has a right to appeal.”
Mr Johnson is not the first in the UK to be sacked or have to resign because of Facebook indiscretions.
One officer from Cheshire resigned in October 2010 after being accused of harassing a former partner on Facebook.
And earlier this year four Northamptonshire police officers were banned from using Twitter after being caught sending inappropriate messages to each other.
The officers, who were among more than 40 police officers and staff who have been tweeting about their jobs over the past few months, were told to leave the website because they breached force rules.