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Social media dos & don'ts for police under the NPS guidelines

These guidelines ensure that police officers conduct themselves in a manner that reflects well on the NPS, both on and off duty

Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome
  • NPS has enforced guidelines to govern police officers' conduct on social media
  • Official representation on matters concerning communities, crimes, or policing is the responsibility of appointed spokespersons
  • The guidelines emphasize honesty, upholding the Service's values, and reputation on social media

In a bid to uphold professionalism and integrity, the National Police Service (NPS) has enforced stringent guidelines to govern police officers' conduct on social media.

Announced by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Monday, June 10, these guidelines, initially set out in a gazette notice in June 2017, aim to provide clear boundaries for officers in their use of social media both in their official and personal capacities.

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The guidelines stipulate that officers must not identify themselves as NPS employees in their private profiles or posts.

This measure is designed to prevent any confusion between personal viewpoints and official stances.

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The responsibility of external representation on matters concerning communities, crimes, or policing rests solely with spokespersons appointed by the Inspector General or respective Service headquarters.

This ensures that all official communications remain consistent and authorised.

Police officers have the right to engage in public debates and comment on various issues as private citizens.

However, it mandates that these comments must not reference their position within the NPS.

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Officers must ensure their personal opinions are not perceived as representing the NPS, thereby maintaining their professional neutrality and the integrity of the Service.

The guidelines also speak of the behaviour expected of police officers on social media, emphasising honesty and the upholding of the Service's values and reputation. Key points include:

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  • Personal opinions: Officers must clarify that any opinions expressed are their own.
  • Reputation: Avoid posting material that could discredit the Service or embarrass the government.
  • Confidentiality: Officers are prohibited from sharing classified documents or unauthorized content, including training videos and suspect interviews.
  • Ongoing investigations: Comments on ongoing investigations are strictly off-limits.
  • Respect: Offensive comments about the NPS or colleagues are forbidden.

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