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30 December 2011, 15:36
In the last 4 years at least two police officers have been sacked over comments and photos posted on Facebook.
Seven have resigned including one Bedfordshire police officer and a Hertfordshire police officer is one of more than 150 to have faced other disciplinary action.
Steve Hutchings from the Hertfordshire Police Federation says this kind of misconduct is uncommon within the Hertfordshire force and says that officers are warned about the risks of putting work related information on social networking websites.
He thinks most of the comments and posts that led to complaints never intended to cause any harm:
"Like a lot of police misconduct its down to lack of thought and stupidity rather than anything malicious or corrupt"
The freedom of information request revealed officers had used Facebook to harass former partners and ex-colleagues, to comment on others' wives, and to suggest they had beaten up members of the public during protests.
Steve Hutchings says not only do these things reflect badly on the force but a careless Facebook comment could have a serious impact on catching criminals:
"Disclosing information about say a drugs warrant being executed as a result of putting that on Facebook anybody could read it and it could compromise the job and result in somebody getting away with crime and not being detected"
Despite this, Steve still values Facebook highly as a key tool for helping police to track and catch criminals.