Socila media, online reputation

The news that hundreds of police officers have been investigated over threatening social media posts, shows the risk they hold to your personal online reputation.

Freedom of information Requests Reveals Hundreds of Investigations

This week, The Independent revealed that a freedom of information request lodged by the Associated Press, uncovered the fact that hundreds of personnel throughout the country’s police force have been investigated over the posting of racist, homophobic and threatening messages on their social networking accounts.

The publication went on to reveal that throughout 43 police forces in England, 828 cases were passed on to senior police. Out of the officers investigated over social media posts, 70 have since gone on to retire, resign or be dismissed from their positions over the past five years.

Meanwhile, the UK’s third biggest police force, Greater Manchester Police, was reported to have opened the most investigations at 88, followed by 74 for the West Midlands and 69 for the Metropolitan Police.

What Kinds of Cases Were Investigated?

Cases investigated include an officer who posted on social media about a planned police operation, as well as one which saw a member of police staff harass a former partner via Facebook. Furthermore, one civilian officer was reported to have posted a comment to their Facebook account about the actions of Muslims in the central London area, who failed to observe a two minute silence, using language that police said “could be regarded as offensive, inappropriate or likely to cause offence.”

Police went on to suggest that they have also opened inquiries into cases where personnel used language in social media comments that could be classed as racist, homophobic or “religiously aggressive.”

What Areas of Risk Did Police Personnel Breach by Posting on Social Media?

These investigations were further shown to include all five areas of risk as identified by guidance published earlier this year, by the body representing senior officers.

Areas of risk potentially breached most notably include breach of operational information, breach of trust and bringing discredit on the police service. Furthermore, the guidance also advised police personnel against putting up messages on social media after consuming alcohol, as well as listing the events they are scheduled to attend, and posting personal details which could lead to them being subjected to blackmail or harassment by criminals.

Careless Social Media Posting is a Threat to Personal Online Reputation

This latest news further shows the risk that careless posting on social media holds to your personal online reputation. More and more, employers monitor their employees’ social media accounts, and will take action against employees that they believe have damaged their online reputation through posting content on their social media profiles.

As the Independent article goes on to show, the consequences can prove dire; they can even include dismissal from your job. That is why Igniyte advises that you must always strive to protect your personal online reputation by thinking before you post on social media.