According to a new Freedom of Information (FOI) request, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of policemen posting sensitive data on social networking websites including Facebook and Twitter.
A total of 519 incidents were reported between 2009 and 2014. Almost 90 officers have already faced hearings over offensive or inappropriate comments on social media, the report revealed.
A police officer in Cheshire was found making inappropriate remarks about a person,and in Gloucestershire a final warning was given to an officer for sending unethical pictures on Facebook. Another Police Officer in Sussex faced disciplinary procedures for calling fracking protesters ‘scum’ on Twitter.
Metropolitan Police on the other hand, recorded the largest number of complaints, where 71 of its officers faced charges.
Offences were also made by a police officer in Manchester, who uploaded inappropriate and offensive images on social networking sites.
Clare George Hilley, the director of Parliament street – the think tank that sent the FOI request, said: “Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook play a vital role in tackling crime and building community relations. However, these findings demonstrate a haphazard approach to social media.”
The Association of Chief Police officers said: “Use of social media sites is governed by MPS’s policies and working practices. The MPS does not tolerate any of its employees making inappropriate comments via the Internet. If any employee is identified as contributing material that is racist, homophobic, sexist, defamatory, offensive, illegal or deemed inappropriate, they may be subject to disciplinary procedures.”
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