Po­lice staff in­ves­ti­gated over so­cial me­dia gaffes

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Ancient Clock Restored -

Two Kent Po­lice staff mem­bers have re­signed af­ter breach­ing rules on us­ing so­cial me­dia.

A con­sta­ble quit af­ter it emerged they were a mem­ber of a Face­book group that posts “dis­crim­i­na­tory” com­ments and a civil­ian left their post for putting force in­for­ma­tion on Twit­ter while off duty.

They were among more than 50 work­ers in­ves­ti­gated by the force for al­legedly break­ing guide­lines on how to use so­cial me­dia sites in the five years to Fe­bru­ary 2014.

The Pro­fes­sional Stan­dards Depart­ment found 36 of­fi­cers or staff had cases to an­swer, with the two re­sign­ing and oth­ers dealt with by writ­ten warn­ing or “ad­vice”.

Cases in­cluded a PC who posted a photo of an in­ci­dent, a PCSO who made “deroga­tory” com­ments in “of­fen­sive” lan­guage and other of­fi­cers who talked about col­leagues or the force.

An­other PC was dis­ci­plined for having “in­ap­pro­pri­ate” Face­book con­tact with a crime vic­tim, while a PC col­league added a per­son known to po­lice as a “friend”.

Fig­ures shows more than 800 po­lice work­ers have been in­ves­ti­gated in Eng­land and Wales since 2009 – rang­ing from so­cial me­dia gaffes to sack­able of­fences that threat­ened to bring forces into dis­re­pute.

Around one in ev­ery 10 of them led to some­one los­ing their job, re­sign­ing or tak­ing early re­tire­ment.

Det Ch Insp Ed­die Fox, from the Kent Po­lice Pro­fes­sional Stan­dards Depart­ment, said: “Kent Po­lice ex­pects a high stan­dard of pro­fes­sion­al­ism from its of­fi­cers and staff, on and off duty.

“This in­cludes behaviour on­line, and the force pro­duces guid­ance for of­fi­cers and staff on how to use so­cial me­dia safely and ap­pro­pri­ately. The vast ma­jor­ity of of­fi­cers and staff do use so­cial me­dia in a re­spon­si­ble way.

“Any com­plaints around in­ap­pro­pri­ate use of so­cial me­dia are thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gated by our Pro­fes­sional Stan­dards Depart­ment. Over five years (Jan 2009 to Feb 2014), our Pro­fes­sional Stan­dards Depart­ment found 36 of­fi­cers or staff had cases to an­swer, which equates to less than eight each year on av­er­age.

“Cases in­cluded where a photo of an in­ci­dent was placed on so­cial me­dia, posts of a deroga­tory na­ture con­tain­ing of­fen­sive lan­guage, and com­ments about col­leagues or Kent Po­lice force.

“In such cases, it is right that ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion is taken.

“In two in­stances dur­ing this time an em­ployee chose to re­sign from Kent Po­lice. The other 34 in­di­vid­u­als were dealt with by way of a writ­ten warn­ing, or with the of­fi­cers or staff con­cerned given ad­vice by man­age­ment.”

Det Ch Insp Ed­die Fox

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.