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Cumbria police staff fall foul of force's social media policy

Police officers and civilians made racist and threatening comments on Facebook and Twitter, sent friend requests to victims of crime and uploaded images of colleagues in “compromising positions”, new details show.

Paul Duhig photo
Paul Duhig

Hundreds of police employees have been investigated for breaching social media guidelines at forces across England and Wales during a five-year period.

In Cumbria, seven officers or civilian staff fell foul of social media policy, governing the use of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, since January 2009.

Across England and Wales, a total of 828 cases were reported to police bosses, ranging from social media gaffes to sackable offences which threatened to bring forces into disrepute.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Duhig, head of the professional standards department at Cumbria Constabulary, said: “All employees are aware of the code of ethics and the online code of conduct.”

These guidelines set out what is expected of officers, which includes the use of social media.

Nationwide around one-seventh of all investigations resulted in no further action or the personnel having no case to answer. This compared with around one-tenth of cases ending in a resignation, dismissal or retirement.

DCI Duhig said: “Cumbria Constabulary takes any allegations made against any employee seriously and will investigate to ensure our communities can have trust and confidence.”

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.

A PC with the same force also received management action after it was alleged they made inappropriate remarks on Facebook regarding someone’s wife.

A PCSO with Devon and Cornwall Police received a final written warning for posting photos on Facebook of themselves with weapons.

An employee with Dyfed Powys sent was accused of being “threatening, bullying and intimidating towards a complainant by sending private messages via Facebook”.

Have your say

So basically 7 in Cumbria since 2009 and presumably one of those was ex Chief Constable Hyde. Big Deal. Crap story move on.

Posted by mr smith on 20 August 2014 at 10:25 do they check all the employee's facebook and twiiter pages on a daily basis or just wait until one of their 'friend' complains?

Posted by Kate on 19 August 2014 at 20:01

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