Belfast Telegraph

PSNI officer arrested over 'social media misuse' remains suspended

By Claire Williamson

A PSNI officer arrested as part of a Police Ombudsman probe into alleged social media misuse remains suspended from duty while the investigation continues.

The officer was arrested last September and remains on bail pending further enquiries.

The watchdog said its investigations into the social media complaints are "complex" and that it is likely to be "some time" before they are concluded.

Currently the police watchdog is investigating a total of six cases involving the "possible misuse of social media".

Two of the investigations were initiated by the Police Ombudsman after information was made available to him. Another four have resulted from public complaints. Each of the complainants alleges that they have been subjected to harassment on Twitter. In some cases it is alleged that material has been posted by police officers. In others, it is alleged that police officers have supplied personal information which has been posted.

The investigation was initiated after a decision by the Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, to "call himself in" to investigate information he has been made aware of.

Dr Maguire investigates complaints about the conduct of police in Northern Ireland but also has the ability to launch his own inquiries.

A Police Ombudsman spokesman said: "These are complex enquiries and it is likely to be some time before they are concluded."

A PSNI spokesman commented: "The officer remains suspended from duty as a result of the investigation being conducted by the Police Ombudsman.

"The Chief Constable requires all officers and staff members to conduct themselves in a lawful, professional and ethical way at all times.

"Any allegation of wrongdoing by any officer or staff member is taken extremely seriously and will be thoroughly investigated.

"All decisions with regard to the duty status of an officer must be lawful, necessary and proportionate, and must remain under continual review."

Belfast Telegraph

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