Disclosure Details

Misconduct - 732/16

Dated: 27 Jul 2016

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

Thank you for your e mail dated 20 June 2016 in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police. 

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

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?


We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Professional Standards Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police. 

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows. 

The information provided in response to quwestions 1 2 and 3 has been extracted from  a ‘live’ database and may be subject to the addition and deletion of complaints, complainants and subjects after the initial extraction of data used for the purposes of this report.

Complaints and Conduct data was checked for allegations recorded for the period 01/01/12 to 27/06/16.   A keyword search of all allegation summaries was conducted for the words ‘social media’, ‘social’, ‘media’, ‘facebook’, ‘twitter’,  and ‘instagram’.  The cases were then checked to ensure the allegation was about a breach of guidelines on social media. Ongoing cases have been excluded.

1. 17 Police Officers and Staff were investigated for breaching social media guidelines.

2. and 3. See below attached.

4. As the information you have requested is accessible by other means I have not provided you with a copy of the information and will rely on Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  You should therefore consider this a refusal for your request. 

I have provided an explanation to this exemption below. 

Section 21 (1) - Information accessible by other means

Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant is exempt information.

The On-line Communication and Engagement via Forums, Blogs and Social Media policy is published on the Northumbria Police website and if therefore freely available.

 Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another.  Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data.  For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.

 The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual property rights of Northumbria Police.  Your use of the information must be strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) or such other applicable legislation.  In particular, you must not re-use this information for any commercial purpose.


FOI 732-16