Northern police officers investigated for social media abuse

Sarah McManus's picture
by Sarah McManus

Twitter-Facebook-700x456Activity across social media has led to hundreds of police officers and staff being investigated for posting racist, homophobic and threatening messages.

Greater Manchester Police, the country’s third-biggest force, reported the most investigations at 88, followed by the West Midlands, with 74, and the Metropolitan Police with 69.

Yorkshire’s four forces had a total of 117 breaches between January 2009 and February 2014, with the most in North Yorkshire. The force ranked fifth worst across England and Wales, with 46 cases. West Yorkshire Police, the fourth largest force in the country, had 35, Humberside had 23, and South Yorkshire had 13.

More than 70 have retired, resigned or been sacked over the past five years in some of the most serious breaches that have come to light following the investigation using the Freedom of Information by the Press Association.

Incidents across the north include:

  • A civilian employee in Lancashire who 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.
  • The same force took management action against a PC who allegedly made inappropriate remarks on Facebook about someone else's wife.
  • A fellow constable resigned over "excessive and inappropriate use of the internet during working hours", in particular online auction sites, internet banking and social networking sites.
  • A colleague received counselling over a Facebook photo of the staff member asleep while on duty in the control room.
  • In North Yorkshire, two employees were required to resign, with a further 10 receiving disciplinary action in the form of management advice or written warnings.
  • A civilian with South Yorkshire police who was accused of harassing an ex-partner via Facebook. They resigned prior to misconduct proceedings.

The Freedom of Information request by the Press Association news agency to the 43 police forces in England and Wales found that 828 cases were reported to senior police.

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