Nearly a thousand police officers and staff in the UK have been investigated for posting offensive social media content, it has been reported.
Claims of misogynistic, sexist, racist and homophobic content have reportedly seen hundreds of cops probed since 2015.
Some officers are alleged to have sent explicit photos to colleagues, Mail Online reports.
At least 999 police officers and staff have been reported by either members of the public or colleagues for misusing social media since 2015, according to freedom of information request figures compiled by the publication.
Twelve of the 44 police forces in England, Wales and Scotland did not supply data, suggesting the true numbers are higher.
The majority of offices investigated reportedly walked away with only disciplinary action, with 53 leaving the force.
“It suggests a culture of misusing social media and WhatsApp in order to disseminate material that is offensive, gratuitous and damaging to public confidence,” said Nazir Afzal, the former chief crown prosecutor for the North West.
“This is misbehaviour on an industrial scale.
“If you’re talking about 1 per cent of our country’s police having been investigated, you just have to wonder how many have not been caught out yet.”
A constable who took a photo of a dead victim and shared it on WhatsApp and an officer who set the neo-Nazi ‘SS’ symbol as a profile picture are among those probed who kept their jobs.
The Met recorded the highest number of allegations – 277 – despite providing data only for the past year.
Alamy Stock Photo)
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The conduct of police officers has come under intense scrutiny over the past week following the sentencing of Wayne Couzens to a whole life term.
It has been alleged that the 48-year-old indecently exposed himself to a McDonald’s worker three weeks before he kidnapped, raped and killed Sarah Everard.
A WhatsApp group said to contain Couzens, who was reportedly nicknamed ‘the Rapist’ by some colleagues, has become a point of interest due to its apparent ‘misogynistic and racist’ content.
Several police officers are now under investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct in relation to the WhatsApp group.
It was reported yesterday that a serving Metropolitan Police officer has been charged with rape.
PC David Carrick, who is based within the Met’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command, was charged on Sunday by Hertfordshire Constabulary.
The 46-year-old was arrested on Saturday and suspended on the same day by the Metropolitan Police.
The offence is reported to have occurred on September 4 last year in St Albans, when Carrick was off duty.
Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “I am deeply concerned to hear the news today that an officer from the Met’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command has been arrested and now charged with this serious offence. I fully recognise the public will be very concerned too.
“Criminal proceedings must now take their course so I am unable to comment any further at this stage.”
Carrick will appear virtually at Hatfield Remand Court on Monday.