Our policy on inappropriate forum behaviour
Posted 27 March 2004 - 05:42 PM
A couple of recent incidents have highlighted the need for me to clarify our policy here so there's absolutely no doubt.
This forum is run by me and a group of moderators, all of whom are almost without exception either serving Specials or Regulars. We have a duty to challenge inappropriate behaviour by users of our forum. This means any postings which are racist, sexist or otherwise offensive. Moderators have carte blanche to deal with such incidents as they see fit. This can range from a private warning via PM up to and including banning the person from the forum.
If it becomes apparent that the offender works for the police service, and this means in its widest context - regular or Special, PCSO, cadet, or police staff (i.e. civilian) - then we will consider whether the incident is serious enough to be reported to that person's employer.
Each case will be judged on its merits. In some cases, for example posting racist material, a single incident could merit such action. However I expect that in most cases we will consider the person's actions over a period of time. So if for example someone is offensive, and continues to be so despite warnings and moderation, then our ultimate sanction is to report such behaviour to their police force.
I expect some people will complain that this smacks of the "thought police", 1984 and all that. I hope the majority of users of this forum will welcome this position - which by the way has been pretty much our stance since the forum first got underway - as a further measure to ensure our forum stays a friendly, interesting place to visit. I expect those who are not comfortable with our policy will choose to go elsewhere - that is a cost I am prepared to bear.
I or any of the moderators will be pleased to discuss any concerns via PM or email.
Posted 13 October 2005 - 09:21 AM
We will tackle inappropriate behaviour as outlined above and this includes evidence of criminal wrong-doing. If it comes to the notice of myself or the moderating team that a member has been involved in a criminal offence then we have a duty to report it and/or co-operate with the relevant authorities should they ask us to assist with an investigation. This applies whether the member in question is a special, regular or member of the public.
Some examples of the sort of behaviours that we have encountered (true life examples):
- A potential recruit to the Specials used abusive, sexist and racist language on the site
- A member admitted 'taking the blame' for a friend's driving offence (and taking the points too!)
- A new recruit to the regulars posted a link to a BNP cartoon (which was racist as you might expect)
- A candidate going through the recruitment process admitted using illegal drugs
Posted 11 November 2005 - 02:31 PM
As you know, we have an active moderation policy. Your excellent moderators do their very best to keep the peace, remove or edit inappropriate content, warn, cajole and advise members, and still try to enjoy using the forum themselves. But they cannot read every single post, and ultimately you are responsible for what you write. If you post something that is missed by the moderators, and which as a result gets you in trouble with your force, then you're on your own - don't come crying to me.
Police forces are taking an increasing interest in what their officers are saying (or writing) on internet forums like this one. It is not only common, but I would suggest these days totally routine, for Professional Standards Departments to monitor what their officers are posting, and they are not averse to taking action against those who post inappropriate material. The police service in the 21st Century must not only be above criticism, but must be seen to be sensitive, appropriate and correct in the way we conduct ourselves. Our policy is one of complete openness - if I am asked by a police force or similar authority for assistance investigating a matter of criminal or disciplinary conduct, then they will have my full co-operation. This includes giving access to private forum areas, where necessary.
This is not up for discussion. If you are not comfortable with our policies then you should cease using the forum at once.
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