A misconduct tribunal hearing by the Metropolitan police on the unauthorized participation of one of its office, PC Khafilat Kareem have heard that she appeared on the Nigerian Big Brother to “promote the Met Police” globally.
At the hearing at the Empress Building in west London on Monday, PC Kareem admitted she took and surrendered her laptop to the show’s organisers but denied allegations of breaching standards in respect of “orders and instructions” and “discreditable conduct”.
The Met said she went on the programme where she lasted 77 days before being evicted “without authority”.
Hours before going on the show, PC Khafilat Kareem called one of the Met’s most senior officers asking him to reverse an order for her not to participate in the reality TV show and also denied allegation she failed to declare a business interest in relation to publicity and promotion of the TV show.
PC Kareem asked for unpaid leave in 2019 to appear on the show as she saw it as “as a chance to promote the Met on an international basis”, the panel was told.
However, her line managers felt it was not within the best interests of the officer or the force.
“Looking at the website and information provided, Ch Supt Jason Gwillim concluded it was not in the best interests of the Met or the officer and it would put her in a compromising situation.
“He explained the rationale and stressed she was not to take part in the show.
Gwillim’s impression was that PC Kareem was disappointed but understood. She took the period of unpaid leave which was granted – she was told not to take part in any further auditions, interviews or shows, the hearing was told.
On 30 June, PC Kareem texted Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist and later called him to say that she had travelled to Lagos to take part in the show.
Mr Twist told the tribunal that he had “never been faced with these circumstances before” and felt it was “most unusual” a PC was contacting someone of his rank on a weekend.
He explained he was aware of previous decisions to refuse PC Kareem’s request to go on the TV show and said he wasn’t in a position to review any decision on a Sunday.
“I was worried about her mental health; we have no ability to support or intervene in the Big Brother house.
Upon her eviction from the show in September 2019, PC Kareem became upset at inaccurate articles and wanted to “tell her side of the story”. She saw a psychologist after the show due to the “adverse” media attention, the tribunal heard.
The tribunal heard she was invited to appear on Good Morning Britain – but was told not to do any unauthorised media interviews.
The tribunal continues.