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Police Employees Investigated for Breaching Social Media Guidelines


The request concerns the use of social media by Avon and Somerset Constabulary. Please provide the information in the form of a searchable electronic document. The questions I have are as follows: Between January 2012 and June 2016

1. How many police officers and staff employees have been investigated for breaching police guidelines on social media use?

2. For each investigation, please state the nature of the allegation.

3. For each investigation, please state the rank (or pay grade) of the officer or civilian and the result - specifically whether an allegation was proven, and whether they were sacked / resigned / no further action.

4. Please could I also have a copy of the force's current social media policy (if one is held), identifying guidelines for social media use?


Between 1st January 2012 and January and 31st May 2016, a total of 41 police officers and police staff have been investigated in relation to social media use. This figure relates to the number of complete investigations.

Please see the attached for the nature of each allegation, the rank of the officers investigated and the investigation outcome. Please note that an allegation can be made against more than one police officer or police staff and the individual can have more than one allegation made against them.

A copy of Guidance on the Responsible Use of Social Networking is also attached. All behaviour expected is subject to the ‘Police Officer Standards of Professional Behaviour’ and the College of Policing Code of Ethics. You may notice some redactions in the attached guidance document. This is because the information constitutes personal information. The exemption applicable to this is Section 40(2), third party personal information. This is an Absolute exemption so therefore there is no requirement to conduct a harm or public interest test. Any information is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act if it relates to or is supplied by another individual and disclosure of that information would contravene any of the principles of the 1998 Data Protection Act, in this particular case, disclosure of this information would contravene Principles 1 and 2 of the Act, whereby personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and only obtained for one or more specified purpose or purposes.

FOI reference: 843/16.

Date of request: 21.06.16.

Related documents

  • PDF icon Police Guidance
    Last updated: 12 August 2016
  • PDF icon Nature of the Allegation
    Last updated: 12 August 2016