Notts: Police officers and staff sacked for misuse of social media

Notts Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping
Notts Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping

Police officers in the region have posted offensive comments on Facebook, sent inappropriate emails and shared classified information online, an investigation has revealed.

A Freedom of Information request has unearthed a dossier of demeanours when it comes to using social media, especially Facebook, for those working for Notts police.

Although the list of shame does not name those involved, it does include their position, and includes constables and a sergeant.

The list shows incidents recorded between 2009 and 2012.

In total, two were given written warnings, six resulted in ‘management action’ while the remaining four of the 12 were dismissed – which included three members of police staff and a constable.

All but one of the offences mentions the use of Facebook.

Notts Police and Crime Commissioner, Paddy Tipping, said: “I’m aware that the force has policies in place regarding use of social media.”

“While social media is a popular form of interaction and communication it needs to be used responsibly.”

“Disciplinary procedures are really an operational matter, but I think it shows that the processes the force has in place are effective, particularly when you consider that all the cases cited pre-date police and crime commissioners.”

The Freedom of Information request asked for the number of incidents between 2009 and 2014 but the last incident recorded was in 2012.

A 12-page document outlining the policy for employees at Notts Police was put together in October 2012 and stated that the use of such communication ‘must be properly governed’ to ‘maintain and enhance reputation and professionalism’.

It was also stated that staff would benefit from ‘further guidance and clarification on the standards of behaviour expected of them when using social and digital media.’

It continued: “Our use of social and digital media will at all times be professional, honest, transparent, accountable, ethical, appropriate, proportionate and justified in law.”