Ethics committee discusses online Neighbourhood Policing

An independent ethics committee has been told about a Leicestershire Police plan to create ‘cyber beats’ in an initiative to extend its programme of engagement with people with online.

The force believes it can provide aspects of neighbourhood policing digitally, with officers talking to the public through Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other social media platforms.

And it says the move would ensure the police connect with traditionally hard to reach audiences whilst also delivering cost effective policing.

Superintendent Michael Mulqueen told the PCC’s Ethics, Integrity and Complaints Committee that the force’s Cyber Beat project was ‘the ordinary tasks of neighbourhood policing but done digitally.’

He said it could not proceed without being ‘rooted in ethics’ and said an ethical framework to support Cyber Beat had been developed. He also said officers were working closely with the force’s Communications and Engagement Directorate  to ensure they got it right.

The committee probed a number of ethical issues raised by the initiative and were impressed by the consideration Leicestershire Police had given to these questions. The Committee was happy to confirm its support for the initiative, which is chaired by Professor Cillian Ryan, economist and Pro Vice-Chancellor & Dean of the Faculty of Business & Law at De Montfort University.

The committee, which was set up to scrutinise the behaviour, standards and integrity of Leicestershire Police, was also asked to discuss two ethical dilemmas which the force brought to its attention.

One concerned a police officer who admitted copying parts of an assignment and passing it off as his own when studying for a qualification.

The other was about a police officer who is currently off sick for stress pending a gross misconduct investigation and has submitted a business interest request to work in his wife’s company.

Both dilemmas were based on cases being dealt with by Leicestershire’s Professional Standards Department.



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Posted on Wednesday 29th June 2016
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