Three police fired for social media misuse


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The Independent Online

Three police officers have been sacked for misusing social media over the past five years, figures from Scotland Yard have shown.

Allegations linked to the use of sites including Facebook and Twitter have been recorded against 75 Metropolitan Police officers since 2009.

Figures revealed after a Freedom of Information request by the Evening Standard showed that 38 of the claims were substantiated.

Of these 25 resulted in formal action, including the three officers who were sacked, five who received management advice and 17 who were given a written warning.

The release of the figures follows a furore involving Kent Police where the country's first youth crime commissioner Paris Brown was forced to resign over offensive Tweets.

The 17-year-old wrote a series of apparently racist, homophobic and violent entries between the ages of 14 and 16.

Kent Police has launched an investigation into the Tweets to ascertain whether any crime has been committed.

Announcing that she was quitting the post earlier this week, Paris said: "I accept that I have made comments on social networking sites which have offended many people. I am really sorry for any offence caused.

"I strongly reiterate that I am not racist or homophobic. I have fallen into the trap of behaving with bravado on social networking sites. I hope this may stand as a learning experience for many other young people."

Four civilian members of police staff were also sacked over misuse of Facebook during the five years.

Commander Allan Gibson said: "Met police staff and officers are expected to behave professionally, ethically and with the utmost integrity at all times. Any allegations of inappropriate behaviour, including that on social media or internet sites, will be investigated thoroughly and dealt with appropriately.

"Over the past five years we have found seven cases where a member of staff has fallen well below the standards expected by the Met. As a result they were dismissed from the service. These cases were extremely serious including the use of offensive, intimidating content which is simply unacceptable.

"These serious cases are relatively rare and we remain vigilant. We will continue to support and train our staff to ensure they are fully aware of our policies on social media use."