Hundreds of Cops in UK Investigated for Misuse of Social Media

Hundreds of UK police officers were disciplined (and some terminated) over improper use of social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter.

According to the BBC, 9 percent of the reported incidents resulted in resignation, dismissal or retirement for the officers involved. A Freedom of Information request by the Press Association discovered police officers were investigated for making racist comments online, posting inappropriate photos online, asking crime victims to friend them on sites like Facebook and more.

Of 828 cases in England and Wales from 2009 to February this year, 9% ended in resignation, dismissal or retirement. The College of Policing said there was "no place... for officers who abuse the trust placed in us by the public".

The BBC highlights a few of the incidents officers were investigated for:

  • A community support officer with Devon and Cornwall Police who received a final written warning after posing with weapons on Facebook
  • A sergeant with the same force who was given a written warning after making remarks about senior officers on the site
  • A civilian officer in central London who posted a comment online about Muslims in London failing to observe a two-minute silence
  • Two special constables who had to resign from Northamptonshire Police after they were pictured on a website in a "compromising position"
  • A Gwent Police officer who was given a written warning after he "inappropriately" asked a female member of the public to be his friend on Facebook during a house visit
  • Another PC from the force who received the same punishment for using Facebook to send an "abusive" message to a member of the public
  • A member of civilian staff in Lancashire who resigned over their "excessive and inappropriate use of the internet during working hours" - including online auction sites, internet banking and social networking

I think we're at the point where we recognize that a lot of interaction with the world happens online for many people. Having your boss throw shade at you because you leave a lot of Yelp reviews is bullshit, absolutely. But this is the kind of stuff that crosses a line. Actually, it's more like taking a running start and leaping so far over the line you can taste the fluffy clouds.

I actually know someone who fired a police officer in his department because the guy pulled a woman over for speeding, gave her a ticket and then asked if he could be her friend on Facebook (WEIRD. ALSO KIND OF SCARY.) How on Earth do you say no? It's hard enough to politely ignore co-workers who want to friend you. Can you imagine if it's a cop, with a badge and a gun, who knows all your personal/private information? That is some fucked up, Ray Liotta losing his damn mind in Unlawful Entry type of shit.

Image via Shutterstock.