Police officers and staff posted racist and threatening comments and uploaded pictures of colleagues in compromising positions on social networking sites, research has revealed.
Hundreds of police employees from across the country - including within the Humberside force - have been investigated for breaching social networking policies, according to information obtained by the Press Association (PA).
Information reveals that more than 20 Humberside Police employees have been investigated for breaching social networking policies over the past five years, with a total of 828 cases nvestigated across the country between January 2009 and February 2014.
In a response to this, the head of Professional Standards at Humberside Police, Chief Superintendent Rick Proctor, said: “There are policies in place in force designed to provide guidance to officers and staff about how they should use social media sites.
“If it ever becomes apparent these guidelines have not been adhered to then those involved will be spoken to and where necessary an investigation commenced. Any adverse findings from such an investigation may lead to disciplinary action being taken in line with current policies and procedures.”
The Chief Executive of the College of Policing, Chief Constable Alex Marshall, said: “People working in policing must always be mindful of the high standards that the public expect from us. Our Code of Ethics, which was launched last month, sets out the standards which everyone in the service should strive to uphold whether at work or away from work, online or offline.
“The vast majority of police officers and staff uphold these high standards and in many cases are responsible for challenging and reporting colleagues who act improperly or unlawfully. Where people working in policing have undermined their own reputation or that of the wider service, they must face appropriate action.
“These figures include relatively minor matters, which can be dealt with by management advice, through to cases of misconduct which, quite rightly have resulted in officers and staff losing their jobs. There is no place in policing for officers who abuse the trust placed in us by the public.”
The Code of Ethics can be found here: http://www.college.police.uk/en/docs/Code_of_Ethics.pdf