Disclosure Details

Social media - 490/14

Dated: 09 Jul 2014

Date of request:     14/06/2014

Date of response:  09/07/2014

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

Thank you for your email dated 14 June 2014 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 by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked: 

  1. what is your organisations policy on the use of social media?

  2. do you provide guidance for employees regarding the use of social media outside of work? what is this guidance?

  3. how many conduct issues did you have in 2011, 2012 and 2013 relating to the use of social media?

  4. How many of these cases resulted in the employees dismissal? How many received written warnings?

In response:

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 Departments  of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

I have today decided to disclose the located information to you as follows.

1&2 As the information you have requested at these part of your request 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.

This information is in the public domain and is therefore freely available.

In order to assist I have provided relevant links to information published on the Northumbria Police website relative to your request.




Please note the information provided in response to questions 3 and 4 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.

Data has been checked for cases recorded with subject attached between 01/01/2011 and 31/12/2013 for conduct matters recorded against Police Officers and Staff regarding the use of Social Media.  

A keyword search was conducted to check for these conduct matters.  The keywords searched were; social, network, media, chat, dating, website, twitter, facebook, classmates, blog, faces, reunited, geni, myspace, you tube, u tube, bebo, linkedin and graduate.

3. From 01/01/2011 to 31/12/2013 there have been 11 conduct cases recorded regarding the use of Social Networking Sites (please note that 14 Police Officers/staff are attached to these 11 cases).  Details are as follows;

6 conduct cases recorded

1 conduct case recorded

4 conduct cases recorded (involving 7 Police Officers/Staff)

4. Of the 14 Police Officers/Staff involved in these conduct cases one was dismissed and two received written warnings.

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.

How to complain

If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our complaints procedure which can be found at: http://www.northumbria.police.uk/foi/disclosurelog/foicomprights.asp

If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.


FOI Complaint Rights Procedure_tcm4-67103