‘Robust stance’ must be taken after police investigated over social media misuse

It comes after a freedom of information request which showed a dozen cases had been investigated in the region, including an allegation of grooming and a case involving a porn website.

Two people have been fired by West Mercia Police for inappropriate use of social media in the last three years, and investigations have involved a sergeant, as well a police officer and staff.

Figures show 12 cases of staff being investigated since 2018, with seven of those investigations taking place this year.

One case involves the porn video sharing website Pornhub. Six cases relate to WhatsApp, two each to Twitter and Facebook and one to YouTube.

One investigation relates to an allegation of grooming, while others involve inappropriate comments, posts, chat and images.

As well as the two dismissals, one member of staff retired or resigned. The force has issued one final written warning, one written warning, and ordered six colleagues to undertake reflective practice. One member of staff was subject to management action.

The force’s police and crime commissioner John Campion said: “Our communities deserve the highest standard of service from West Mercia Police, which includes the highest standard of behaviour from officers and staff.

“If an individual’s online conduct falls below these standards, it is right that a robust stance is taken in the same way as any other misconduct. It is reassuring to see West Mercia taking allegations seriously when they do occur, and as Commissioner I will continue to hold the force to account on behalf of communities to ensure that high standards remain.”

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