Hundreds of police from across the U.K. have been disciplined for misusing social media, with 9% of cases resulting in resignation, dismissal or retirement.
Documents obtained by the Press Association reveal that misuse of Facebook and Twitter has been widespread, with a total of 828 cases identified between 2009 and February of this year.
One police officer in Wales received a written warning after asking a female member of the public to add him on Facebook during a house visit. Another case saw a police constable resign after being found to engage in “excessive and inappropriate use of the internet during work hours,” with his seniors identifying online auctions and social networking sites as occupying too much of his time.
Many of the cases reported involved photos posted on Facebook. One police officer received counselling after a Facebook photo showed him asleep while on duty in the police station control room. A community support officer was given a final written warning after photos emerged on Facebook of him posing with police weapons.
The documents show that Greater Manchester Police reported the most cases of social media misuse, with 88 investigations over the five year period, while West Midlands Police identified 74 cases, and the Metropolitan Police reported 69. Only 13 police forces in the U.K. had ten or fewer incidents to report within the period.
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