Police officers investigated over internet misuse

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SCOTLAND’S second biggest police force has investigated 22 officers over allegations of internet and database misuse.

Lothian and Borders launched the misconduct proceedings after alleged

“system abuses’ that took place between September 2007 and July last year.

The figures reported today (Fri), and revealed under freedom of information laws, also show that four members of staff have been investigated.

Six police and one civilian member of staff were subjected to formal investigations last year.

And in 2009 investigations were launched into the alleged misconduct of 16 officers and three staff.

One officer retired from the force before disciplinary measures were complete, while another resigned prior to a hearing.

A further 17 officers or staff were handed either verbal or written warnings, while three were

“counselled’, three received

“advice’ and another was handed a caution.

Only one investigation found the misconduct was

“unsubstantiated.”

But the force insists that the number of offences committed by officers and staff was

“dropping.”

A spokeswoman said:

“Lothian and Borders Police operate a strict data protection and internet usage policy which is explained on joining the force, and reinforced through continued training.

“Access to any website or force system must be for police-related business purposes only, with individuals accountable for what they view and spending time online.

“Officers and staff are aware they could face misconduct or disciplinary proceedings, and have their internet access removed, if they breach the policy.

“The number of officers and staff misusing force systems improperly is dropping but the force is not complacent. “

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