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Almost a thousand police officers have been investigated for posting offensive content on social media, according to an investigation by the Daily Mail.
The investigation uncovered exchanges of misogynistic, sexist, racist and homophobic messages, including explicit photos. There were also reports of some officers sending sexual content to underage or vulnerable victims.
Last week PC Wayne Couzens was given a rare whole-life sentence for the murder, kidnap and rape of Sarah Everard. During his case, the court heard that he had exchanged degrading material with colleagues on WhatsApp before her kidnap took place.
Based on freedom of information requests, the Mail found that at least 999 police officers had been reported by members of the public or colleagues for misusing social media since 2015.
The number could be higher, however, as only 32 of the 44 police forces approached responded to the FOI requests.
Almost three-quarters of the allegations were considered serious enough to require disciplinary action, but only 53 staff have left the force as a result.
The Metropolitan Police force recorded the highest number of allegations at 277, but did not provide details of the complaints. As the largest force by some margin, higher numbers are to be expected, however.
Avon and Somerset recorded 126 allegations, including a vulnerable female who complained that an officer had tried to contact her “extensively” using his force mobile.
One special constable in Surrey Police resigned after posting “inappropriate and racist” posts on social media, while another was disciplined for “racially offensive” Facebook posts.