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Trainee Police Officer Drew Red Lines on COVID-19 Test to Avoid Work


  • A trainee UK police officer was found to have drawn red lines on a COVID-19 test to fake a positive result.
  • He did so to secure time off work, a misconduct hearing, first reported by Press Association, heard.
  • The officer resigned after admitting he faked the test, PA reported.

A trainee UK police officer admitted drawing red lines on his at-home COVID-19 test to fake a positive result and get time off work, a misconduct hearing heard Monday.

The trainee officer, who was a member of the Lancashire Constabulary, faked the positive lateral flow test (LFT) result in December 2021, the hearing, first reported by Press Association, was told.

LFTs are widely used to test for the presence of COVID-19 infection using nasal swabs. Two red lines on an LFT indicate that infection is present, whereas one red line indicates it is not. No red lines indicate that the test didn’t work.

When the trainee officer provided the force with a picture of his supposedly positive LFT, it became “clear that the test had been manually altered with drawn red lines,” the hearing heard.

The trainee officer was then invited by a manager to take another test live on Microsoft Teams, during which he again claimed it had returned a positive result, the hearing was told.

When challenged, the trainee officer admitted he had faked the test results in order to stay at home under UK isolation rules. He resigned from the force the next day, the hearing heard. 

Under UK rules in force at the time of the incident, a person had to remain in isolation for at least seven days if they returned a positive result from an LFT. 

The officer did not attend the misconduct hearing and did not have legal representation, Press Association reported.

Chief Constable Chris Rowley, who chaired Monday’s hearing, said that had the officer not resigned, he would have been dismissed for gross misconduct. “Police officers must keep in mind at all times that the public expect them to maintain high standards of professional behavior,” Rowley said. 

Lancashire Constabulary did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.



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