Police Workers Breaking Social Media Guidelines

19 August 2014, 08:34

It's been revealed hundreds of police officers and staff have been investigated for breaking social media guidelines, with 86 cases in the North East.

It includes racist and threatening comments on Facebook and Twitter.

There were 828 cases reported to police bosses in the last five years - 86 of those were by North East police forces.

North Yorkshire Police had 46 and have told us two of their employees were forced to quit because of their social media use.

About a seventh (14%) of all investigations resulted in no further action or the personnel having no case to answer. This compared with around a tenth of cases (9%) ending in a resignation, dismissal or retirement.

In Lancashire, a member of civilian staff received a written warning over derogatory remarks posted on their Facebook page about a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) who had issued the staff member with a fine for dog fouling.

According to Gwent Police, a Pc acted inappropriately while attending a member of the public's home address and asked her to become a friend on Facebook, later sending a message through the site. They received a written warning.

Chief Constable Alex Marshall, chief executive of the College of Policing, said:
"People working in policing must always be mindful of the high standards that the public expect from us.

Our code of ethics, which was launched last month, sets out the standards which everyone in the service should strive to uphold whether at work or away from work, online or offline.

The vast majority of police officers and staff uphold these high standards and in many cases are responsible for challenging and reporting colleagues who act improperly or unlawfully. Where people working in policing have undermined their own reputation or that of the wider service, they must face appropriate action.

These figures include relatively minor matters, which can be dealt with by management advice, through to cases of misconduct which, quite rightly have resulted in officers and staff losing their jobs. There is no place in policing for officers who abuse the trust placed in us by the public."

Cases Of Social Media Misconduct In North East Police Forces

North Yorkshire - 46

Northumbria - 24

Cleveland - 15

Durham - 1