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Force keeps dog handler Twitter accounts on a tight leash

Constabulary says the new corporate account will have 'very little input' from the communications team.

A force has decided to centralise its police dog handler social media accounts following a review of its policy.

Gloucestershire Constabulary says it is encouraging officers to sign up to a single social media account to keep the public posted about the day-to-day activities of the dogs and to comply with the force's social media policy.

The force says a number of personal accounts have “broken rules” by breaching copyright, writing potentially inappropriate comments and leaking sensitive information about operational duties.

A recent review means the handlers, including a Gloucestershire PD account running for seven years with over 7,000 followers, are limited to what they can post, unless they sign up to the new account.

Officers are now being told to sign up to a corporate account, which has “very little input from the communications and engagement team.”

However, the announcement did not go down well with with some criticising the length of time it has taken the force to conclude regulations are being breached.

A force spokesman said: “Our officers who use Twitter do a fantastic job and we don’t want to do anything that stops them continuing to write engaging posts that give people a real insight into their work.

“But we also have a responsibility to make sure anything being communicated is in line with the constabulary’s values and does not breach any of our legal or moral obligations.

“We accept the effective use of social media is not a perfect science but we need to have safeguards in place in the event of any misjudged use of the platform.

“Since then we have been reviewing what to do with a number of personal accounts that have been active, some prior to the policy coming into place. Due to this, all those not complying with force policy have been offered access to the corporate accounts.”

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