NEWS
30/12/2011 05:11 GMT | Updated 28/02/2012 05:12 GMT

200 Police Facebook Complaints: Officer Was Sacked Without Notice After Calling Colleague A 'Liar' Online

Two police officers have been sacked for making abusive comments on Facebook since 2009, it has emerged.

One officer based in Islington, North London, was fired for calling another officer a "grass" and a "liar" after a brief relationship ended acrimoniously in April 2010.

Another from Hampshire was fired in 2009 for making racist comments, and Pc Nestor Costa, of Devon and Cornwall Police, was fined three days pay in 2008 after he called for violence against suspects in custody on his Facebook page.

Under a video of a youth with a knife being tackled by officers in a police station, Costa wrote: "Look at this stupid c***, hope he gets a good f****** shoeing in the cells."

He also posted photographs, videos and comments on his Facebook page, writing: "Let's not be so soft on these c**** out there."

More than 200 complaints against the police for Facebook posts have resulted in seven other officers quitting the force, and 150 others facing disciplinary action in the last four years, figures from 41 of the 43 forces showed.

The details were revealed following a request under the Freedom of Information Act by the Press Association and a review by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.

Some of the other disciplinary actions faced by officers for their use of Facebook included:

  • In 2010, two special constables from Dorset resigned prior to disciplinary hearings over the "misuse" of Facebook.
  • One officer from South Yorkshire quit in September 2010 after being accused of improperly disclosing information and another from Cheshire resigned in October 2010 after being accused of harassing a former partner on Facebook.
  • In 2009, an officer from North Wales resigned after being accused of inappropriate conduct and another from Essex resigned during disciplinary action, both in relation to Facebook.
  • And in 2008, a Bedfordshire police officer resigned while under investigation for posting an inappropriate photograph on a personal Facebook page on 7 June.

Nine officers were given final written warnings. These included:

  • One officer in Cumbria who, during September and October 2010, "pursued a course of conduct which amounted to harassment of a colleague and which was conducted via text, email and Facebook entries".
  • Officers in other forces posted offensive comments (one in Hertfordshire in 2010), inappropriate comments (in Lincolnshire, Surrey, West Mercia and Wiltshire in 2010, and one in Derbyshire in 2009), and derogatory comments (in Humberside in 2009).
  • Another officer, from the South Yorkshire force, received a final written warning in 2010 linked to another allegation regarding "orders and instructions".
  • A Staffordshire Police officer, who repeated a comment made by a well-known comedian, received a written warning in August 2009. No other details were given.
  • A Lancashire Police officer received a written warning in 2008 after posting comments on Facebook which implied he had abused his authority by assaulting members of the public during public order incidents.
  • A second officer from the same force was hauled before bosses in December 2009 for making inappropriate remarks on Facebook about the complainant's wife. He was subject to "management action".
  • Two Nottinghamshire Police officers received the same punishment in 2009, one for engaging in a conversation on Facebook about a forthcoming police operation and another for publishing "discontent about having to work over the Easter bank holiday".
  • An officer from the Gwent force, who was given a written warning in 2009, asked a victim of crime to become a friend on Facebook.
  • Two further officers, one in Lincolnshire in 2010 and another in Derbyshire in 2008, were also reprimanded for trying to contact crime victims and received words of advice and a written warning respectively.
  • Two officers from the North Wales force were also hauled before bosses and given advice in 2009 after revealing police business on Facebook.