Metropolitan Police Sergeant Jeremy Scott, had taken to Twitter to make ‘unacceptable’ comments. He is reported to have said that he hoped Lady Thatcher’s death was “painful and degrading”, was “87 years too late” and in response to the impromptu street parties that broke out across the country on Tuesday night: “Marvellous stuff! Margaret Thatcher’s death greeted with street parties in Brixton and Glasgow.”
The tweets were widely reported and it has now been confirmed by Scotland Yard that Sergeant Scott has handed in his resignation and that it has been accepted with immediate effect. Metropolitan Police Commander Allan Gibson said, “This officer’s behaviour was completely unacceptable and it is right that he has resigned.”
Sergeant Scott had made the comments through an account called ‘thinbluespeck’ which has now been removed. It is understood that the matter had been reported to the Directorate of Professional Standards by Sergeant Scott himself.
The Independent has included details of other social media related incidents at Scotland Yard, including infromation that three police officers have been sacked for misusing social media over the past five years and allegations relating to the use of social media have been recorded against 75 Metropolitan Police officers since 2009.
This is yet another high profile example of the consequences the misuse of social media can have, especially when there is a media frenzy steering public opinion. Earlier in the week, the UK’s first Youth Police Commissioner resigned after less than a week in the job when the Mail on Sunday unearthed offensive tweets dating back to 2011.
Employees must continue to edit their own thoughts before releasing them online. Those in a position of responsibility and the public eye must acknowledge that their conduct may be scrutinised more than others and act accordingly. With two resignations in one week, it seems clear that employees using social media platforms against the will of their employers are often doing so in the full knowledge of the potential consequences.