West Midlands Police rejects concerns about censorship of social media

West Midlands Police has rejected concerns reported by The Times about censorship of social media claiming it is one of the "most open and transparent" police forces.

Police: concerns raised about social media policy
Police: concerns raised about social media policy

Last week the force suspended the Twitter account of a response officer, Inspector Michael Brown, who used social media to try to raise awareness of mental health issues.

The Times ran a story today referring to the force’s social media policy claiming it requires all its officers to hand over their social media passwords.

Speaking to PRWeek, West Midlands Police head of corporate communications Dan Barton said the policy was not a response to the recent case and had been in place for around two years.

He said corporate social media accounts were set up and adminstered by the corporate communications department but it was not the case that officers had to hand over passwords for accounts set up independently.

Officers are advised to register for a corporate social media account if they plan to use social media to discuss their work.

"Accounts are set up here in the first place," he said. "From time to time we check stuff but there are about 230 accounts and we have suspended four accounts in two years, and two of those were reinstated, so it rarely happens."

He did not comment on the case of Brown, who is understood to have had a corporate account, but said reasons accounts might be suspended were normally to do with "common sense" such as if evidence had been tweeted.

"It’s not about stopping people commenting," he said. "We are one of the most open and transparent forces.

"It’s hard for PR people to keep control of the message, and if we allow individuals to use social media we do lose control but we build trust and confidence in West Midlands Police and look like real people. I’m fully behind that approach because you gain so much."

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

Department store John Lewis is to use its 150th anniversary this year to talk about its history, which "not enough people know about", according to director of communications Peter Cross.

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

The man who helped Barack Obama win the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections is to work for Labour along with members of his team.

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Pay-TV giant Sky has added Fever PR to its agency line-up for a wide-ranging brief covering products and services.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home for Easter and will reconvene on Tuesday for further deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

The Home Office has tasked Munro & Forster (M&F) with supporting its campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of a wider retained brief.